“79-Year-Old Filipino Among Victims in Deadly Maui Wildfires”

By | August 18, 2023

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A 79-year-old Filipino, Alfredo Galinato, was among the over 100 fatalities in the wildfires that struck Maui, Hawaii. The Philippine Consulate in Honolulu is assisting Galinato’s family, who are all based in Hawaii. The wildfires have affected hundreds of Filipinos, and the Philippine government is monitoring the situation and ready to provide assistance. US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Hawaii next week to survey the devastation left by the wildfires, which are one of the deadliest in US history. HANA BORDEY,GMA Integrated News reported

An elderly Filipino, aged 79, was among the numerous individuals who tragically lost their lives in the devastating wildfires that ravaged Maui in Hawaii. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed this distressing news on Friday. DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega confirmed the identity of the Filipino victim as Alfredo Galinato. He further stated that the DFA is providing support to Galinato’s family, who are all residents of Hawaii. The Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce had previously reported that hundreds of Filipinos were among the 1,000 people reported missing in the wildfires that began last week.

The Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu has been inundated with inquiries about the whereabouts and well-being of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans affected by the wildfires. Consul General Emilio Hernandez stated that the number of requests for assistance in locating missing individuals and family members has been steadily increasing. The DFA estimates that there are around 200,000 Filipinos living in Hawaii, with 60% of them holding American citizenship.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been closely monitoring the situation and ensuring that the Philippine government, through the DFA and the Department of Migrant Workers, is actively assessing the number of Filipinos potentially affected by the catastrophic wildfires. He assured that the Consulate in Honolulu is fully prepared to assist the Filipino victims.

The wildfires, fueled by powerful winds gusting up to 80 mph, rapidly engulfed the dry grasslands outside the town of Lahaina and spread into the historic resort area. The inferno, with temperatures reaching up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, reduced block after block to ashes. The exact cause of the fire remains unknown, and survivors have expressed their lack of warning before the flames swept through the town. Some individuals were forced to seek refuge in the Pacific Ocean to escape the deadly blaze.

Amidst the chaos, Herman Andaya, the head of Maui’s emergency management agency, resigned from his position following criticism for not activating the island-wide network of sirens as the wildfire approached Lahaina. Andaya cited health reasons for his immediate resignation. This decision, along with other perceived mistakes made before, during, and after the disaster, has sparked anger among survivors, who believe that more lives could have been saved.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Hawaii next week to assess the aftermath of the devastating wildfires. With over 100 fatalities, this fire ranks among the deadliest wildfires in the United States in over a century. As authorities work to identify the deceased, heart-wrenching stories about those who perished have emerged..