Beirut explosion: New Zealanders with Lebanese family horrified at deadly blast

People from Lebanon now living in New Zealand are horrified at the explosion in the country's capital Beirut, which has killed over 135 people and injured more than 5000 others.

Immigrants following the events in the media say it's heartbreaking to see the aftermath of the deadly explosion.

Aucklander Saad Abou Chakra has a cousin that suffered a head injury in the explosion and is now in intensive care.

"I feel very sad because I love them. I love the family. What one tries to do in situations like this is to keep strong," he says.

"You think these things don't happen to you, then you hear it being said in Lebanese, 'where is my handsome son'. Heartbreaking."

Wellington hairdresser Jean Jacques' sister works at a hospital in Beirut where four nurses were killed, but fortunately, she wasn't there when the blast happened. 

Jacques has a message for his family in his homeland.

"We love them and we'll be with them with our heart and our soul."

Honorary Consul for Lebanon in New Zealand Henriette Nakhle told Newshub she wanted to extend her deepest condolences to all Lebanese people after the "devastating explosion that ruined Lebanon's major lifeline, the seaport, and led to many other tragic losses".

"Our heart goes to all the families who lost their loved ones, the injured and those who have been displaced. We pray for our Lebanon and we trust that it will overcome this tragedy," she said in a statement.

Evidence from the blast, which occurred in Beirut's port, shows officials knew of the dangers of the chemicals being stored there, but it didn't act.

The initial focus is on the hunt for survivors, and there was a moment of celebration when one person was found alive amid piles of broken concrete. But Lebanon Health Minister Hamad Hassan says dozens of people still remain missing.

The Lebanese Honorary Consulate and members of the Lebanese community in New Zealand have set up a bank account for donations.

All proceeds will go to the International Red Cross in Lebanon. 

Lebanity Enterprise New Zealand Charitable Trust

Bank account number: 01-0190-0483014-01