The public is advised to monitor the Embassy’s website for the announcement of the resumption of normal operations.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia (Philippine Embassy, Washington DC photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy is urging the close to half a million members of the Filipino-American Community in the East Coast of the United States to brace themselves for what could be the largest storm to hit the US mainland.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia said the Embassy has issued an advisory to the more than 460,000 members of the Filipino Community in at least 13 states that forecasters said would be affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“We advise our kababayans staying along the path of Hurricane Sandy to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel until the storm has passed,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “We must take all the necessary precautions as this is a storm like no other.”

He said Filipinos in the affected areas, particularly in New Jersey and New York, should be ready for heavy rains, strong winds, power outages, floods, falling trees and flying debris when the hurricane hits land on Monday with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

As part of their preparations, Ambassador Cuisia advised the Filipino-American communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut to stock up on food and other emergency provisions and to monitor local media for regular updates.

Ambassador Cuisia said the Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in New York have also activated 24-hour help desks to assist Filipino tourists, businessmen, seamen and other temporary visitors travelling along the East Coast who may be affected by the hurricane.

Ambassador Cuisia said Filipinos who may require assistance may call the Duty Officer of the Embassy in Washington D.C at 202-368-2767 or the Consulate General in New York at 917-294-0196. He said teams will be on 24-hour standby at the Embassy and the Consulate General to render assistance to Filipinos who may be affected by the hurricane.

Both Ambassador Cuisia and Consul General Mario de Leon have also urged Filipino-American Community associations to keep in touch with their members for any developments or emergencies that may arise as a result of the hurricane the effects of which will be felt until Tuesday.

Ambassador Cuisia also personally contacted Filipino-American community leaders in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina to check the situation in their respective areas.

Ambassador Cuisia said the Office of the Defense and Armed Forces Attache has advised the 88 officers and men of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16), the country’s second high-endurance cutter acquired from the US, to prepare for the storm. The vessel is currently undergoing refurbishment and refitting in Charleston, South Carolina, which is also in the path of the hurricane.

Ambassador Cuisia said the Embassy and the Consulate General in New York will issue regular updates on Hurricane Sandy in their respective websites and and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge flooding along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, including Long Island Sound and New York Harbor with winds expected to be near hurricane force when it makes landfall on Monday. Weather forecasters say the hurricane may even intensify when it hits land between Delaware and New Jersey.

Sandy, which has been described as ‘Frankenstorm,” is anticipated to cause billions of dollars in damages when it sweeps across the East Coast. As a result, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, New Jersey, and Connecticut have declared states of emergency with New Jersey already ordering evacuations along its coastal areas. ###