Filipinos Affected by Massive Fort McMurray Fire

Members of Filipino community based in Fort McMurray, Alberta are among those rendered homeless as a massive inferno swallowed large parts of the city.

Mayee Ramirez, among those displaced by the fire sought permission from work to rush back to their homes.

“Tumawag kami sa mga managers namin na kailangan namin umuwi, at the same time, binigyan naman kami ng mga rides para makauwi. Pagdating namin sa Fort Mac, doon namin nakita na wala na, hindi na makapasok ang mga sasakyan. Ang ginawa namin, naglakad na lang kami, tumakbo na lang kami kung saan malapit iyung house namin kasi iyong mga pamilya namin nandoon,” Ramirez said, in a report by ABS-CBN.

According to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation of some 88,000 residents including the entire city of Fort McMurray. Reception for evacuees have been setup in Edmonton.

“Sana matulungan kami kasi totally, wala kaming dala dalang mga damit at siyempre, wala na kami maging mga trabaho, wala na kaming babalikan sa Fort McMurray. May katrabaho ako from Abbott side, iyung mga bahay nila doon talaga ay sunog na,” she said.

According to sources, the blaze, which began on Sunday, has already destroyed 80% of Fort McMurray’s Beacon Hill community. As of Wednesday the fire has torched an area of 24,710 acres.

Ramirez added that Fort Mac looks like dead town without Filipinos, who mainly work in restaurants, hotels and convenience stores as all the rest are at work in the oil patch.

Philippine Consul General Julius Torres has been in touch with some of the victims, reassuring them that the Philippine government will help.

“Pinaabot natin sa ating mga kababayan nasa Fort McMurray at sa mga karatig pook lalung-lalo na sa mga temporary foreign workers na tinatawag na mga Pilipino, na ipagbigay alam lang sa atin ang pangangailangan nila, kung kailangan nila ng tulong,” he said.

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