MANILA, Philippines – No Filipino casualties have been reported following the massive underwater volcanic eruption that triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
In a statement, the DFA said that as of January 18, the Philippine Embassy in Wellington has received no reports of casualties in the Filipino community in Tonga and Samoa.
The department said the Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. reached out to the Philippine Embassy in Wellington via email informing the latter that every Filipino citizen in the Kingdom of Tonga has been accounted for and that there are currently no casualties.
Internet and international calls, however, are still currently unavailable.
“As such, the Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. has requested the Philippine Embassy in Wellington to let their families know that our kababayans are safe,” the DFA said.
The department assured that the Philippine Embassy in Wellington is continuing to exhaust efforts to contact Filipinos in Tonga primarily through the use of its emergency satellite phone.
“Indications show that it might take two (2) weeks before the communications system is fully restored in Tonga,” it said.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, will continue to closely monitor the situation in Tonga, to ensure the continued safety of our kababayans,” it added.
The volcanic eruption in Tonga that occurred on Saturday triggered a tsunami that flooded parts of the Pacific island nation.