MANILA – An elderly American citizen of Filipino descent was among the fatalities in the deadly wildfires that ripped through the Hawaiian coastal town of Lahaina, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Friday.
DFA Undersecretary Jose Eduardo de Vega identified the victim as 79-year-old Alfredo Galinato.
“The DFA confirms the death of a Filipino national in the Hawaii wildfires. He was a naturalized US citizen originally from Ilocos,” he said in a text message.
“The Philippine Consulate in Honolulu is assisting the family who are all based in Hawaii,” he added.
In a GoFundMe page, Galinato’s son Joshua said the wildfire, described as the deadliest in Hawaii, also razed their family home in Lahaina.
“Our Dad, Alfredo Galinato, was one of the many thousand others who have fallen during the most deadliest fires in all of the US. We are grateful to finally hear about our Father’s remains but saddened that he has not joined us in safety,” he wrote.
“It’s with an extremely heavy heart that my Mother and brothers lost everything in this fire including the entirety of our home that my parents worked very hard on,” he added.
Citing the 2020 US state census, the DFA said there are about 388,000 individuals in Hawaii who identify themselves as Filipino or part-Filipino.
Of this number, about 200,000 have parents who are both Filipinos but only 16 percent are Philippine passport holders.
As of Aug. 18, the death toll from the blaze has reached 111 people and is expected to climb as search operations continue. (PNA)