Malaysians in Lebanon safe from Beirut blast: embassy

Screenshots of a video showing explosions in Beirut. Photos: Kabir Taneja /Twitter
Screenshots of a video showing explosions in Beirut. Photos: Kabir Taneja /Twitter

The embassy and Malaysia’s foreign affairs minister said today that no Malaysians were affected by yesterday’s shocking explosions that rocked Lebanon’s Beirut harbor, killing at least 100 and injuring thousands of others.

Malaysian soldiers currently deployed under the United Nations Interim Force in the country are based out of South Lebanon and away from the disaster scene, according to the Lebanon embassy in Malaysia.

“No casualties were reported at the time being (involving Malaysian soldiers of UNIFIL),” its statement said. “(The situation in Beirut) is very bad, catastrophic. However, we have not received anything official at this present moment.”

It is not clear how many Malaysians are currently residing in Lebanon. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also posted an update on social media, adding that Malaysians in Lebanon have been told to not leave their homes. 

“Reports from the Malaysian Embassy in Beirut has confirmed that all Malaysians there are safe and have been advised to stay indoors,” Hishammudin wrote online earlier today. 

“Malaysia stands together in grief as our thoughts and prayers accompany the strong people of Lebanon. We stand ready to support any way we can,” he wrote separately on Twitter. 

Malaysia is part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, and involved in its peacekeeping missions. 

The Lebanese capital was struck by two explosions around 6pm local time, or 11pm Malaysia time, near warehouses housing a large supply of explosives. President Michel Aoun said 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse without safety measures. 

Viral video footage showed thick smoke rising into the air after the first explosion took place, followed by a mushroom cloud that then swept through the whole of Beirut harbor during the second blast.

More than 100 people were killed and at least 4,000 wounded. Two of those who died were from the Philippines

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