Two huge explosions ripped through the port of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday evening, injuring thousands and killing at least 100 people according to the death toll on Wednesday morning.
No Swedish citizens were seriously injured or killed in the blast, as far as the Swedish foreign ministry was able to confirm on Tuesday. However, more than 28,500 Lebanese-born people live in Sweden so many will have links to the country, which is close to financial collapse and also fighting the coronavirus crisis.
Anyone in Sweden who is worried about relatives or friends in Lebanon can contact the Swedish foreign ministry's emergency helpline, which is open around the clock, for advice on how to proceed: 08-405 50 05.
The Swedish ambassador to Lebanon, Jörgen Lindström, advised anyone in Beirut to contact local authorities if in need of urgent help, and to dial 140 for the ambulance service which is run by the Red Cross.
En stor explosion i Beirut. Om du behöver akut hjälp, kontakta i första hand lokala myndigheter. Larmnumret för ambulans är 140 och går till Röda Korset som ansvarar för ambulanstjänsten i landet. Du kan även nå UD:s konsulära nödjour på telefonnummer +46 8 405 50 05.
— Jörgen Lindström (@jorgen0404) August 4, 2020
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“Sweden stands ready to help Lebanon after the explosions in Beirut and we immediately asked the EU to coordinate any efforts. Our embassy in Beirut, the staff of which is unharmed, is in contact with Lebanese authorities for more information,” wrote Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Twitter.
Shocking news of explosions in Beirut. The cause and scale of devastation remain unknown. My thoughts go out to the families of those dead and injured. At this point no information on any Swedish nationals affected.
— Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) August 4, 2020
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven tweeted that “our thoughts are with the victims of the devastating explosion in Beirut. We extend our condolences, support and heartfelt sympathies to the people of Lebanon”.
Few exact details were immediately known about the cause of the explosion, but Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said it was caused by 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse in the port.