FOUR Filipinos have died in the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon this week, while 31 were injured, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, August 7 said.
“We are saddened by the latest turn of developments. The higher figure comes as our Embassy personnel work to ascertain the condition of the Filipinos in its jurisdiction,“ said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola in a statement.
The Philippine Embassy in Beirut noted that most of the wounded Filipinos are household service workers.
Meanwhile, two individuals are still hospitalized in critical condition and a household service worker remains missing.
“Two Filipinos remain in critical condition. They are confined and are being monitored at Rizk Hospital,” reported Philippine Embassy Beirut Charge d’affaires Ajeet Panemanglor.
The DFA on Thursday confirmed that all 13 Filipino missing seafarers have been found and are “safe and accounted for.”
“Our Embassy in Beirut has ascertained the conditions of all the 13 Filipino seafarers who were injured in the blasts that rocked the city recently,” said Arriola.
Eight of the sailors staying at the company accommodations were visited by Philippine Embassy Beirut Charge d’affaires Ajeet Panemanglor.
“Five of the seafarers were at the hospital for another medical checkup when Philippine Embassy officials arrived. Another visit is scheduled to meet the remaining mariners,” the DFA said.
The Filipino seafarers are cruise members of the significantly damaged cruise ship Orient Queen, which was reportedly docked in the port of Beirut.
The powerful blast that rocked the Port of Beirut on Tuesday afternoon, August 4 left at least 135 people dead and 5,000 wounded, Lebanon’s health minister said on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.
Based on reports, a highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at a port triggered the explosion. Lebanese authorities are still investigating the incident.
The DFA said the Philippine Embassy is now in touch with the Filipino community in Lebanon to assess the situation as well as provide assistance to any affected Filipinos.
DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez noted that around 33,000 Filipinos are residing in Lebanon, 75% of whom are in the Greater Beirut area.
The DFA is chartering a flight, scheduled for August 16, to repatriate Filipinos from the country as well as to bring the remains of the deceased Filipinos back home.
“The president heard the clamor of our kababayans. This chartered flight is the most concrete, immediate and timely assistance that the Department of Foreign Affairs could provide given the current situation in Lebanon,” Arriola said.
Filipinos in need of assistance are urged to contact the Embassy through +961 385-9430, +961 813-34836, +961 714-74416, +961 706-81060 and +961 708-58086, or email them at email@example.com.