The Australian victim of the Beirut explosion has been identified as two-year-old Isaac Oehlers.
- Two-year-old Isaac’s family say they are heartbroken by their loss
- Meanwhile, the death toll rises to 158, with dozens still missing
- The explosion was the biggest in Lebanon’s history and caused billions of dollars damage
His family has issued a statement on their loss following the disaster which killed 158 people, injured 5,000 and destroyed much of the Mediterranean city on Tuesday.
“We are heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful boy following the disaster in Beirut,” Isaac’s family said.
“Isaac was two and will be deeply missed by family and friends
“The family would like to thank everyone who has offered comfort and support to us, and would like to express our condolences to everyone in Lebanon who is suffering from this devastating tragedy.
“We request that the media respects our privacy at this difficult time.”
Death toll rising
The explosion of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the Beirut port, apparently set off by a fire, was the biggest in Lebanon’s history and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, according to Beirut’s Governor. It also left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
The death toll from the catastrophic explosion rose to 158, the Lebanese health ministry media office said on Saturday (local time).
The number of people injured exceeds 6,000 and 21 are still reported missing.
‘We are living in ground zero’
Some residents, struggling to clean up shattered homes, complained the Government has let them down again.
“We have no trust in our government,” said university student Celine Dibo as she scrubbed blood off the walls of her shattered apartment building.
Several people said they were not surprised that French President Emmanuel Macron had visited their gutted neighbourhoods this week while Lebanese leaders had not.
“We are living in ground zero. I hope another country would just take us over. Our leaders are a bunch of corrupt people,” said Psychologist Maryse Hayek, 48, whose parents’ house was destroyed in the explosion.
Members of parliament resign
Lebanon’s Kataeb Party, a Christian group that opposes the Government backed by the Iran-aligned Hezbollah, announced on Saturday the resignation of three of its members of parliament.
“I invite all honourable [MPs] to resign so that the people can decide who will govern them, without anybody imposing anything to them,” party chief Samy Gemayel said, announcing the move during the funeral of a leading member of the group who died in the explosion.
Mr Macron, who visited Beirut on Thursday, promised angry crowds that aid to rebuild the city would not fall into “corrupt hands”. He will host a donor conference for Lebanon via video-link on Sunday, his office said. US President Donald Trump said that he will join.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister and presidency have said the highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which is used in making fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years without safety measures at the port warehouse.
President Michel Aoun said on Friday an investigation would examine whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or other external interference.
Mr Aoun said the investigation would also weigh if the blast was due to negligence or an accident. Twenty people had been detained so far, he added.