Middle East

'Heartbroken' family of Beirut blast victim Isaac Oehlers will be forced to quarantine

Source: Supplied

Isaac Oehlers is the only known Australian victim of the blast that tore through Lebanon's capital Beirut.

The family of the two-year-old boy killed in the Beirut explosion will have to go into quarantine when they return home to Western Australia.

But WA Premier Mark McGowan has promised his government will be sympathetic about those arrangements in light of the "shocking" tragedy.

"The family have family in Western Australia and will be looking to come back at some point in time," he said.

"Obviously, we'll be sympathetic and understanding, with the appropriate rules in place."

WA has some of the toughest border restrictions in the country.

Isaac Oehlers is the only Australian victim so far in the explosion at Beirut's port on Tuesday afternoon local time that killed more than 150 people and injured thousands more.

Some 5,000 Australians are believed to be in Lebanon, which was already facing a major economic crisis and a coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the family expressed their grief at the loss of their young son.

"We are heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful boy following the disaster in Beirut," the statement read.

"Isaac was two and will be deeply missed by family and friends.

"The family would like to thank everyone who has offered comfort and support to us, and would like to express our condolences to everyone in Lebanon who is suffering from this devastating tragedy.

"We request that the media respects our privacy at this difficult time."

The blast was fuelled by thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse for years after being confiscated from a ship.

Investigators are yet to determine what sparked the explosion and are reportedly focusing on workers at the port, but Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said it may have been a rocket or bomb attack.

The explosion levelled buildings around the port and caused major damage across the city, leaving as many as 300,000 people homeless.

The catastrophe sparked angry protests and clashes in which one police officer has been killed and more than 200 people injured.

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