50 Filipino teachers safe from Maui, Hawaii wildfires - DFA official
50 Filipino teachers safe from Maui, Hawaii wildfires - DFA official
50 Filipino teachers safe from Maui, Hawaii wildfires - DFA official
by Ellicia Del Mundo15 August 2023
An aerial view shows smoke as wildfires ravage the island in Maui, Hawaii, August 9, 2023. County of Maui/Handout via REUTERS

Fifty Filipino exchange teachers were reportedly safe following the deadly wildfires that ravaged Maui, Hawaii, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Paul Cortes said on Tuesday, August 15.

During the televised Laging Handa public briefing, Courtes said the Philippine Consulate in Honolulu reported that 50 Pinoy teachers, who are J1 visa holders, marked themselves as safe.

"They are now being housed in a shelter given by the Hawaii state in the US government authorities," he added.

Cortes said the affected 50 teachers will receive relief and financial assistance from the national government through Philippine Consulate in Hanlulu.


He also said that they will also continuously monitor the situation of Filipinos who are permanent American citizens.

"I know that they are already American citizens. They have been there for 40 years but you know, they are Filipino at heart and we continue to communicate," Cortes added.

He noted that so far, no Filipino-American citizens have sought repatriation.

"If they wanted to be repatriated, the Philippine government is ready to assist them if and when they decided to return," Cortes added.


Meanwhile, the DFA official said that no records yet on how many Filipinos have been affected by the wildfires incident.

Citing the 2020 US state census, he said there are 300,088 individuals who identified themselves either as Filipinos or half-Filipinos.

Of this number, there are 200,000 are pure Filipinos who born in the United States or American citizens and Filipino passport holders.


The DFA Assistant Secretary said authorities in Hawaii are having a hard time determining the identity of the 99 confirmed deaths.

"It's really difficult at this point to say that there are Filipino passport holders na involved. Pero suffices it to say na marami sa kababayan natin, who have been in the US for 20 to 40 years, have been affected by the wildfire," he continued.

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