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Two Filipinos dead, one missing in Beirut blast that killed dozens; all 11 missing Filipino seafarers onboard the MV Orient Queen now safe

Two Filipinos dead, one missing in Beirut blast that killed dozens
CNN Philippines Staff Aug 5, 2020

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 5) — wo Filipinos were killed and more than 20 were injured in a massive explosion that ripped through Lebanon's capital Beirut, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said the two who died were in their employers' homes during the explosion on Tuesday in Port of Beirut. The other Filipinos who were hurt were also household workers.

Meanwhile, a domestic worker remains missing following the blast that sent a shockwave that caused massive destruction to property and buildings across a radius of several kilometers.

In a latest development, Arriola said that all the 11 missing Filipino seafarers from the explosion have been found alive.

The seafarers were onboard the MV Orient Queen cruise when the explosion happened.

The DFA said the ship was just 400 meters away from the blast site.

Aside from the one missing seafarer, DFA said the other missing Filipino is a domestic worker.

The official said they are working to repatriate Filipinos who wish to go home. There are over 31,000 Filipinos in the war-torn country, mostly undocumented workers. The DFA is planning to repatriate 230 Filipinos over the weekend, including the remains of those killed in the explosion.

"We stand ready to bring everyone home. Ang handa nang umuwi, pauuwiin na sila. Ang maiiiwan, gagawin natin ang makakaya para mapauwi sila. We see that we have to fastrack the repatriation," she said in an online media briefing.

[Translation: We are ready to bring everyone home. Those who have complete documents and ready to go home will be brought home. For those who can't leave yet, we will work hard to bring you home. We see that we have to fasttrack the repatriation.]

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment said that the families of the victims were already notified of the situation and necessary assistance will be extended to them.

“The next of kin of those who died have been duly notified and the necessary assistance is being extended to the family for the immediate repatriation of the dead OFWs to their families in the country,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a statement. “We shall expedite the release of appropriate insurance and OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) benefits for all victims of the tragedy.”

The explosion killed at least 80 people and wounded over 4,000 people, Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan told Reuters. It's still unclear what caused the blast.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures, "endangering the safety of citizens," according to a statement.

Lebanese officials have not called the explosion an attack.

Beirut blasts: 10 of 11 missing Filipino seafarers now safe, with minor injuries
Christia Marie Ramos - August 05, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday evening that 10 of the 11 Filipino seafarers who were earlier reported missing after the massive explosions in the Port of Beirut in Lebanon have now been accounted for and safe.

Citing information from the Philippine Embassy in Beirut, the foreign affairs department added that the 10 Filipino seafarers sustained minor injuries.

DFA also said the seafarers are now with the management of the shipping company Abu Merhi Cruises, operator of the Orient Queen Cruises, where they serve as crew members.

“This recent development leaves one seafarer still missing,” DFA noted.

Earlier Wednesday, DFA Undersecretary Sarah Arriola told reporters in an online interview that there were 12 Filipinos reported missing following the blast, 11 of whom are seafarers while the other is a household service worker.

DFA assured it would continue to ascertain the conditions of the seafarers and the other Filipinos who were reported hospitalized.

Meanwhile, all embassy personnel are reported safe as embassy premises in Beirut were also reportedly free from any damage, according to DFA.

DFA then advised Filipinos in Lebanon in need of assistance to reach the embassy through the following:

+961 3859430
+961 81334836
+961 71474416
+961 70681060
+961 70858086

E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Lebanon

Over 100 people died and more than 4,000 were reported injured after huge explosions shook the Beirut on Tuesday, August 4, according to Red Cross in Lebanon.

Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab earlier said the explosion stemmed from 2,750 tons of agricultural fertilizer ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a portside warehouse for years. Investigations, however, were still ongoing.