The Philippine ambassador to Lebanon reports that 59 Filipinos residing in Lebanon wish to return home due to the escalating conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.
On Monday, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Raymond R. Balatbat informed CNN Philippines that Philippine officials gathered with leaders of the Filipino community on Sunday to assess their current circumstances.
According to him, the current water and food supply in Lebanon is sufficient for residents to manage, but there may be a shortage if the conflict escalates.
On Sunday, the Philippine Embassy in Lebanon announced that Filipinos who wish to be repatriated can now submit their applications through the embassy’s Facebook page.
Mr. Ali reported that many Lebanese families residing near the southern border with Israel have relocated to Beirut, creating a sense of unease and causing widespread panic among the local population. Balatbat said.
On Saturday, the Philippines declared Alert Level 3 for Lebanon due to the ongoing conflicts and urged its citizens to return home.
On Sunday, Undersecretary Jose Eduardo A. de Vega from the Department of Foreign Affairs stated that there are approximately 17,500 Filipinos residing in Lebanon, with a majority of them employed as domestic workers.
“Filipinos are being informed that there is a program for repatriation and are advised to go home,” he told ABS-CBN Teleradyo. “We are trying to avoid repatriation during gunfire and conflicts.”
On October 7, Hamas militants fired rockets from Gaza into Israeli towns, causing Israel to respond with widespread airstrikes. The attack, which was a surprise, resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people, mainly innocent civilians. The Gaza Strip, which is blockaded, was where the militants launched their attack from.
The country of Israel has implemented a blockade and sent thousands of soldiers on the ground to attack the Palestinian area.
According to Mr. De Vega, as of Sunday, Israel is currently at Alert Level 2, while Gaza is at Alert Level 4, which may result in forced repatriation.
In recent weeks, there has been a significant increase in violence between Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and the Israeli military along the Lebanese-Israeli border. This is the most severe escalation of conflict in the region since the 2006 war between Israel and the Islamist organization.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, approximately 4,137 Palestinians have lost their lives and over 13,000 have been injured in the conflict.
On October 20, Hezbollah initiated the firing of anti-tank missiles over the border, resulting in the Israeli Defense Forces responding with air strikes against Hezbollah in Lebanon. This led to the death of 19 Hezbollah combatants.
Mr. Balatbat stated that the frequency and intensity of the military exchanges, including mortars, artilleries, and missiles, have been on the rise between Hezbollah and Israel in recent days.
Foreigners have been advised by their embassies to depart from Beirut and many airlines are reducing the frequency of flights, according to J.V.D. Ordoñez.