Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Wednesday that at least two Filipinos were among 73 casualties after two blasts rocked a port in Beirut, Lebanon.
The two Filipino workers were inside their employer’s house when the explosions happened. At least 6 other Pinoys who were also living with their employers were injured, said DFA according to the Embassy.
According to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertilizer, were stored in a portside warehouse that exploded, causing “a disaster in every sense of the word.”
The health ministry in Beirut reported 73 dead and 3,700 injured across the blast site. The twin explosions resulted in burning buildings, glass shards, and bloodied and would people.
“What happened today will not pass without accountability,” said Diab. “Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price.”
General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim reported earlier that “highly explosive material” had been seized years earlier and stored in the warehouse.
The blasts shook the entire city and were heard throughout Lebanon, and as far away as 240 kilometers away in Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
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2 Filipinos dead in Beirut blasts
A soldier at the port, where relatives of the missing scrambled for news of their loved ones, told Agence France-Presse: “It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground. Ambulances are still lifting the dead.”
“It was like an atomic bomb,” said Makrouhie Yerganian, a retired schoolteacher in her mid-70s who has lived near the Beirut port for decades.
“I’ve experienced everything, but nothing like this before,” even during the country’s 1975-1990 civil war, she said.
“All the buildings around here have collapsed.”
“We heard an explosion, then we saw the mushroom,” said a Beirut resident who witnessed the second deafening explosion from her balcony in the city’s Mansourieh district.
“The force of the blast threw us backwards into the apartment.”
The explosions also reached and damaged Beirut airport’s terminal which was already nine kilometers from the explosion.
As the national defense council declared Beirut a disaster zone, Diab appealed to Lebanon’s allies to “stand by” the country and “help us treat these deep wounds”.