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Latter-day Saints safe following explosion in Beirut; area presidency issues statement

An army helicopter drops water at the scene of Tuesday's massive explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Residents of Beirut awoke to a scene of utter devastation on Wednesday, a day after a massive explosion at the port sent shock waves across the Lebanese capital, killing dozens of people and wounding thousands. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Credit: AP
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across Beirut, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. In addition to those who died, more than 3,000 other people were injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) Credit: AP
Graphic shows ares of interest in aftermath of Beirut blast; Credit: AP

No Latter-day Saints were injured during explosions that rocked Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, on Tuesday, Aug. 4. More than 135 people died in the blast, which injured thousands, according to the Associated Press.  

The building that houses the Latter-day Saint meetinghouse was affected, but rooms where Church meetings are held were not damaged, said local Latter-day Saint Roula Akiki.

“The destruction of Beirut and the loss of so many lives are cataclysmic but our faith is great and the light will always prevail,” said Sister Akiki, whose husband Maroun G. Akiki is currently leading the Beirut Lebanon District Branch.

The blast appears to have been triggered by a fire that ignited large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer — which exploded with force, according to the Associated Press.

In response to the explosion, the Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency — Elder Anthony D. Perkins, Elder Randy D. Funk and Elder Jeffrey H. Singer — issued the following statement:

“On behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to each person impacted by the explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020. We grieve the loss of life and extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who died. We pray that God will bless the injured and pour out peace and comfort on all who are mourning in Lebanon and around the world at this time.”

Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across Beirut, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. In addition to those who died, more than 3,000 other people were injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across Beirut, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. In addition to those who died, more than 3,000 other people were injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) | Credit: AP

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