MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino is presumed dead in the wildfires engulfing north California's wine country, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday, October 17.
The Filipino's remains, "which have yet to be positively identified, were recovered on October 14, 2017, in Napa County," the Philippine consulate general in San Francisco told the DFA.
"We offer our sincere sympathies and prayers to the family of our kababayan (countryman) who perished in this horrific fire," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
"I have instructed our Consulate General in San Francisco to offer all possible assistance to the family and to continue to closely monitor the welfare of other Filipinos in the affected areas," Cayetano added.
Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalon said the Philippine consulate general in San Francisco "has been in touch with the victim's family and has offered assistance, especially in coordinating arrangements for the repatriation of the victim's remains."
"We also continue to communicate with the Filipino community through our social media advisories, and have offered consular assistance to Filipinos affected by the wildfires," Ascalon said.
At least 40 people have died in the California wildfires, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on its website.
The most populous US state regularly faces late-summer fires. But the blazes that have burned more than 217,500 acres (about 88,090 hectares) this month, devastating the winemaking areas of Napa and Sonoma, proved the deadliest in the state's history. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.