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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Consulate General in New York is leading efforts to raise financial and material aid for Filipino victims of Hurricane Sandy almost a week after it unleashed its devastating fury on Staten Island.

Although there were no reports of any Filipino casualties in Staten Island as a result of the hurricane’s devastating impact, at least 10 Filipino families there lost their homes and belongings while most of the 12,000 Filipinos there are still without power, according to Consul General Mario L. De Leon who visited the area.

Consul General De Leon, accompanied by Consul Felipe Carino, met with community and church leaders who briefed them on the situation of the estimated 3,000 Filipino families in what is considered to be the hardest-hit area of New York.

“We still do not have the exact number of Filipinos in distress and in need of assistance but we do know that at least 10 families in South Beach and Midland Beach have been rendered homeless by Sandy here in Staten Island,” said Consul General De Leon after his meeting with Fr. Erno Diaz, parish priest of Our Lady of Margaret May and other Filipino priests.

Also present during the meeting were Bert Olimpio, President of the Philippine American Civic and Cultural Community of Staten Island (PACCCSI); Manny Lagmay of the San Lorenzo Parish Group; and Bishop Willy Manlapaz of Tagum City who was visiting when Hurricane Sandy struck Staten Island.

The Consul General was told that four of the affected families were given temporary shelter, food and water provisions and clothing by relatives and church organizations in cooperation with PACCCSI and the Oriental Mindoro Association of New York. They are now temporarily housed in St. Vincent de Manor in Park Avenue, a senior home facility, with the help of Fr. Frank Lanzaderas.

Asked how the Consulate could help Filipino victims of the hurricane, Consul General De Leon said the Consulate would help coordinate efforts to seek assistance from the Catholic Relief Service of the Archdiocese of New York.

He added that the Consulate will also post advisories on its website and disseminate relevant information on guidelines for filing insurance claims and receiving benefits for the guidance of the more than 12,000 Filipinos residing there. ###