DFA checking if Filipinos among victims in Kemerovo fire

Published March 26, 2018, 11:49 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Roy Mabasa

The Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday it is is still checking if there were Filipinos among the victims of the fire in the town of Kemerovo, some 3,600 kilometers from Moscow.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano extended sympathies to the Russian Federation after 56 people were reported to have died and many more reported missing in a fire at a shopping mall in Western Siberia on Sunday.

“We extend our condolences to the government and people of the Russian Federation over the deaths resulting from the fire at the Winter Cherry Shopping Center in Kemerovo,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go the families of those who perished in this tragedy,” the Secretary said as he expressed hopes that the casualty rate would no longer rise.

In his report to the Home Office in Manila, Ambassador to Moscow Carlos Sorreta said the Embassy is checking if there are any Filipinos among the dead and the missing in the incident.

“As of today there are no reports of Filipinos included in the list of casualties,” Ambassador Sorreta said. “The Embassy is coordinating with the relevant Russian authorities for official updates.”

Ambassador Sorreta said an estimated 1,000 of the 8,000 Filipinos in Russia are in Siberia.

Ambassador Sorreta said the fire, which is considered to be one the deadliest in Russia in recent years, struck the upper floors of the shopping center where a movie theater and a children’s play center were located.

He said Russian authorities have recovered at least 56 bodies, many of them children, from the scene of the fire and are searching for dozens who remain unaccounted for.