2 Filipino domestic helpers among those killed in Beirut blasts

DFA Diplomatic Dispatch

At least 2 Filipinos were among some 100 people killed when twin explosions devastated Beirut’s port and shook distant buildings across the Lebanese capital, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.

Lebanese firefighters work at the scene of an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020. (Agency Photo)

The 2 Filipino household service workers died inside their employers’ homes when the explosions occurred. At least 8 other Filipinos were injured and 12 remained missing, the DFA said, citing information from the Philippine Embassy in Beirut.

Of those missing, 11 are seafarers and one is an injured household service worker, DFA Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said.

Two huge explosions rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known.

The shockwave from the massive blast was also felt at the Philippine Embassy in Beirut, 20 minutes by car from the blast site. All Embassy staff are safe and accounted for, she added.

“We were told that they also felt the shockwave so talagang yumanig talaga ang Embassy. So ganoon kalakas talaga ang explosion. So kahit talagang wala ka sa kalsada at that time, tatamaan ka eh. Kasi marami doon nabasag,” Arriola said.

(We were told that they also felt the shockwave, the embassy shook, that’s how powerful the explosion was. Even if you were not on the street, you would have been hit. It also shattered many things.)

A repatriation flight is being mounted to bring home Filipinos with exit visas and the remains of migrant workers by weekend at the earliest or next week at the latest, she added.

The agency is ready to provide aid and has coordinated with local authorities to find the missing Filipinos while the victims’ families will be given assistance, Arriola said.

Lebanon is home to some 31,916 Filipinos, of whom more than 10,000 are undocumented migrants.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tons of agricultural fertilizer ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a portside warehouse had blown up, sparking “a disaster in every sense of the word.” DFA Diplomatic Dispatch

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