MANILA — Twelve Filipinos are missing after a deadly blast followed by shock waves rippled through the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed.
One of the missing nationals is a household service worker while the remaining 11 are seafarers who were onboard the ship MV Orient Queen docked about 400 meters away from the blast site.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said the 11 were part of a group of 13 Filipino seafarers who all jumped into the sea as the massive blast tore through the city and sent plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Two of the 13 are currently seeking shelter at the Embassy.
“They jumped from the ship and only two are accounted for, so we’re trying to find out if they were able to swim to the shore. We’ll be giving more details once we have concrete information on the ground,” she told reporters in a virtual briefing.
The Philippine government is in coordination with the Lebanese authorities for efforts to locate the 12.
Arriola added that two Filipinos also died while eight were injured when the explosion took place in Beirut’s port. Of the wounded, one sustained serious injuries while the seven had minor ones.
“As of now, everything is very fluid because it hasn’t been 24 hours since the incident took place and if you’ve seen, the explosion was really massive. We are trying to tell all our overseas Filipino workers in Lebanon and all the next of kin that we are doing the best we can to assist all our nationals,” she said.
The DFA is also working to repatriate the remains of the blast victims “as soon as possible”, Arriola said.
A warehouse storing around 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate is being linked to the devastating Beirut explosion that reportedly killed around 100 people and injured over 4,000.
The Lebanese government has declared August 5 as a day of national mourning in the aftermath of the incident. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora /PNA – northboundasia.com