132 Filipinos repatriated from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico

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SOME 130 Filipinos living in Puerto Rico who were severely affected by Hurricane Irma were repatriated and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 before midnight on Wednesday.

The 132 Filipino victims of Hurricane Irma, which slammed the US territory on Sept. 6, arrived on board Philippine Airlines chartered flight after availing of the repatriation program of the government.

More than 150,000 Filipinos living in Florida, Caribbean Island, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Saint Maarten, Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and Haiti have lost their livelihood and properties after owing to the hurricane.

Among the 132 passengers on board the chartered flight were pregnant women, senior citizens, and children including an infant, and a wheelchair-bound passenger.

Philippine Ambassador to Puerto Rico Katrina Borja Martin and three others accompanied the 132 repatriated Filipinos during their flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico via San Francisco-Manila on board an Airbus 340 with 254 seating capacity of PAL flight PR 8115.

The 132 repatriated Filipinos will temporarily live with their relatives in the country while bidding their time to go back to Puerto Rico to start anew.

The US National Hurricane Center described Hurricane Irma as “extremely dangerous” that made landfall in the island of Barbuda on Sept. 6. It then barreled its way across the Caribbean.

Other Filipinos, meanwhile, chose to stay in Puerto Rico and start rebuilding.

Hurricane Irma had maximum winds of nearly 185 miles per hour or about 250 km/hour. It was considered the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center after hurricane Alle, in 1980 with maximum winds of about 190 m.p.h.

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma significantly impeded the transportation and distribution of relief supplies as roads, harbors and airports were badly damaged.