22 January 2010

70 Filipinos in Haiti want to come home

70 Filipinos in Haiti have indicated their desire to come home after a powerful earthquake hit Port-au-Prince last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

The DFA plans to put the Filipinos in a bus and bring them out of Haiti’s capital to Sto. Domingo, Dominican Republic.From there, the Pinoys will take a plane that would fly them home to Manila.

Majority of those who want to be repatriated are women and children. They are concerned for their health, as well as their safety, the DFA said.

One Filipino in Haiti, Godofredo Edquiban, urged the Philippine government to act quickly to bring them home. “I hope they hurry. Amoy patay na daga (It smells like dead rats),”

According to Edquiban, Ambassador Macarthur Corsino had arranged for the date of their repatriation before returning to Cuba. He added that strong aftershocks are hampering rescue operations in Haiti.

At least 4 Filipinos died in the Haiti earthquake including 3 members of the 10th Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent and 1 United Nations staff member.

Rescuers have yet to save 2 other Filipino workers identified as Geraldine Lalican and Grace Fabian who are still trapped at the collapsed Caribbean Supermarket.

Meanwhile, the desperate conditions are forcing even Haitians to move out of the center of the earthquake. Many locals are reportedly waiting to board ships out of the earthquake-ravaged capital.

Agence France-Presse reported that Haitian officials are moving hundreds of thousands of people affected by the January 12 earthquake.

The government said it would try to relocate an estimated 500,000 survivors out of squalid, stinking bivouacs into temporary accommodation outside Port-au-Prince.

The International Organization for Migration estimated Thursday that at least half a million people are now living outdoors in improvised camps, and warned the number was climbing as people flood in from damaged villages

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