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DFA says 2 Filipinos died in Beirut blast

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Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
PHILSTAR

TWO MIGRANT Filipino workers died and eight more were hurt after an explosion rocked Beirut on Aug. 4, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Twelve more Filipinos were still missing, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Filipinos were in their employers’ homes during the explosion, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Martin R. Meñez told reporters by teleconference.

The explosion occurred at a port warehouse that stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a substance used for fertilizers and explosives, according to reports.

Two of the workers who were injured were part of a group of 13 Filipino seafarers of MV Orient Queen, docked 400 meters from the explosion, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said.

Eleven of the seafarers who jumped off the ship went missing, while another household worker was also reported missing.

Ms. Arriola said the impact was so strong it was felt at the Philippine Embassy in the Lebanese capital.

“The embassy is 20 minutes from the port and we were told they also felt the shockwave,” she said at an online briefing.

“We will be giving all kinds of assistance that’s going to be needed,” she said, adding that the government would help bring home the bodies of those who died.

About 32,000 Filipinos are in Lebanon, down from 33,000 in December after some of them came home amid a global coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been repatriating Filipinos due to economic problems in Lebanon and most of the Filipinos already lost their income and their jobs,” she said. — CAT





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