August 08, 2020 at 04:15 pm
Eleven more Filipinos were injured and another one was reported missing in this week's deadly explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.
"By day's end Friday, the number of injured stands at 42, an increase of eleven from the previous report. We were also alerted that another Filipino was reported missing, increasing the number to two. The number of Filipino fatalities, meanwhile, remains at four," Foreign Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said.
Meanwhile, the Orient Queen cruise ship, flagged in the Bahamas and berthed at Beirut port was reported to have sunk following the two large explosions.
At the same time, the Beirut Customs chief and the port manager were arrested as part of an investigation being carried out by the authorities.
The authorities have taken into custody 16 people as part of the investigation, with the government giving the investigative committee four days to determine responsibility for the blast.
The DFA said it expected the number of affected Filipinos in Beirut to rise due to the magnitude of the destruction that killed four household service workers from the Philippines.
Lebanon is home to around 33,000 Filipinos, 75 percent of whom are in the greater Beirut area.
A chartered plane on August 16 will bring back at least 230 Filipinos who sought repatriation assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Beirut.
The DFA said the same flight would also carry the remains of the Filipino victims.
Initial investigation said the explosions had been triggered by ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for years and killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others.