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One Finn injured in Beirut blast

The Foreign Ministry has been contacting Finnish citizens in Lebanon.

Autoja päällekkäin räjähdyspaikan lähellä.
The explosion rocked the Lebanese capital on Tuesday evening. Image: Anwar Amro / AFP

One Finnish national was reportedly injured in a deadly explosion at a port in the Lenabese capital of Beirut on Tuesday. At least 100 people were reportedly killed by the blast, while thousands more were injured.

Yle received confirmation from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tina Tähtinen that one Finn had been lightly injured in the blast. However the person’s identity was not disclosed.

"The person is receiving treatment," Tähtinen told Yle.

On Tuesday the ministry began contacting 40 Finnish citizens who had filed travel notifications for Lebanon.

In an initial message, the ministry informed them about the incident, while a second asked if any of them needed assistance.

The ministry said that by Wednesday morning it had received 18 responses from Finns in Lebanon. Tähtinen attributed the number of responses to the fact that one person may have responded on behalf of a group or family unit.

"None of the respondents said they needed help," she noted, adding that other responses indicated that people were no longer in Lebanon.

Finnish peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon were also said to have reported no injuries.

Minister: Finland to help with reconstruction

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto described the situation in Lebanon as serious, adding that Lebanese emergency supply agencies had already been under pressure because of the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking on Yle’s television breakfast show Ylen aamu on Wednesday, Haavisto said that he was certain that Finland would in some way participate in aid and reconstruction work in Lebanon following the fatal incident.

He noted that roughly 200 peacekeepers currently deployed in Lebanon could be a part of the rebuilding effort.

Haavisto said that officials will continue to reach out to Finns who might still be in the country. He noted that the explosion had been so powerful that embassy employees might also have been hurt.

"It was very fortunate that nothing happened to staff. The embassy was completely destroyed," he added.

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