The explosions that rocked Beirut on Tuesday devastated a city beloved for its cosmopolitanism — a place with a magnetic pull for people of many nationalities, whether they choose to live there or are forced there seeking refuge or work.
Over the years, Beirut’s bars, cafes and neighborhoods have drawn French colonizers, Syrian and Palestinian refugees, Arab artists and writers, European tourists, and African and Asian migrant workers.
That reputation is reflected in the growing list of the dead.
The Lebanese Red Cross has confirmed more than 135 deaths in the aftermath of the blasts that radiated from Beirut’s port. Thousands more were injured, and both tolls are expected to rise as more of the missing are confirmed dead.
Among the victims were at least four Bangladeshi migrant workers, Bangladesh’s embassy in Beirut told Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency. Scores more were injured among the estimated 150,000 Bangladeshi laborers in Lebanon.
At least two Filipinos died as well, killed in the homes where they were employed, Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola told CNN.
A German diplomat working at the embassy in Beirut was in her apartment when the blast hit and died, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
“The catastrophe may have reduced Beirut to rubble, but our friendship with Lebanon has not been shaken,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in a commentary for Germany’s Bild newspaper on Thursday, Deutsche Welle reported.
French architect Jean-Marc Bonfils was another victim, French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot announced Wednesday on Twitter.
“France and Lebanon are united in the grief of his death,” she wrote.
Thousands of Syrian refugees live in Beirut, among the 1.5 million registered in Lebanon. Some had found work in Beirut’s port, the epicenter of Tuesday’s explosions. There are reports of Syrians found among the dead, but no exact figures. Ali Abdul Karim, Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, told Syrian media on Wednesday that there were “a number” of Syrian victims, but would not comment further.
The scores of Lebanese killed represent a broad sweep of society. The full scope of the loss, however, has yet to unfold, as friends and family members continue frantic searches in morgues, hospitals and social media groups to locate missing loved ones.