TWO Filipinos were among the people killed in a massive explosion in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday, August 5.
“Our hearts go out to the Lebanese people. And I hope material and medical help as well. DFA will try to extend as much help as it can out of its own resources not just to OFWs but [also to] Lebanese communities,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr.
DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez also reported that eight Filipinos were injured and 12 were missing, of which 11 are seafarers and one is a household worker.
The Philippine Embassy in Lebanon, meanwhile, said 10 of the 11 sailors have already been found “safe and accounted for.”
It added that the 10 suffered minor injuries, and are now with the management of the shipping company, Abu Merhi Cruises at Ain el Mraiseh, Beirut.
“The Philippine Embassy Beirut will continue to ascertain the conditions of the seafarers and the other Filipinos who were reported hospitalized,” the Embassy assured.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cadac, for his part, said the government will repatriate the remains of the two Filipinos who were killed.
According to him, OWWA has already been in contact with the family of one of the victims. They have yet to identify the other victim.
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.
— Nader Itayim | نادر ایتیّم (@ncitayim) August 4, 2020
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.
Malacañang said the DFA will intensify its repatriation efforts for Filipinos in Lebanon.
“I think the government will continue with its repatriation of nationals who wish to be evacuated from the area. Lebanon, as we know, is war-torn,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines.
“We’ve issued [a] series of advisories against working in Lebanon. I believe the DFA will intensify our efforts to bring home our kababayans in that war-torn area,” he added.
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.
Meñez noted that around 33,000 Filipinos are residing in Lebanon, 75 percent of whom are in the Greater Beirut area.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.