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MANILA, Philippines – There have been no reported Filipino casualties so far from the powerful earthquake that rocked Japan on Monday, January 1, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said, citing an update coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“As of today, January 4, 2024… no Filipino casualties have been reported in the latest update received by the department in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine embassy in Tokyo and Philippine consulate general office in Osaka and Nagoya,” the DMW said in a statement on Thursday, January 4.
The department said it was extending assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were affected by the magnitude 7.6 quake that affected Japan’s west coast – the strongest in more than four decades, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The DMW said there are 447 Filipinos who live in the Ishikawa prefecture, where the Japan Meteorological Agency initially issued a major tsunami warning that was later downgraded to an advisory. Meanwhile, there are 700 Filipinos living in nearby Toyama prefecture.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Arnell Ignacio earlier reported that 159 OFWs went to an evacuation center following the quake, but that all have returned home as of Tuesday, January 2.
“We are closely monitoring the situation of OFWs, especially those who are in the Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures to guarantee their safety. Also, we are ready to provide necessary medical and financial assistance to OFWs onsite,” said DMW officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac.
The DMW also said that all supervising organizations and principals of the workers were directed to monitor the safety of their deployed OFWs, and report their conditions to the Migrant Workers Office in Osaka for any necessary assistance.
The department had earlier activated a hotline for Filipinos affected by the quake.
Japan’s New Year’s Day earthquake has killed at least 78 people. Thousands of rescuers were deployed to search for quake survivors, but they face challenges of severed roads and the remote location of the worst-hit areas. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com