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EU aid arrives in Beirut hit by explosion

Credit: EU, 2020

An EU humanitarian airlift flight landed on Thursday morning in Beirut carrying more than 17 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, medicines and medical equipment.

The cost of transport was fully covered by the European Commission, while freight was purchased by EU humanitarian partners, UNICEF and Doctors of the World. Emergency materials will ensure access to health care for the most vulnerable following the explosion in Beirut and in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

The explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate last week in the harbour of the capital of Lebanon killed more than 160 people, wounded at least 6,000, rendered a quarter of a million people homeless and destroyed hospitals and food storages.

“The EU continues to provide emergency aid to the Lebanese. This airlift flight improves the supply of medical equipment to support the local health care system, bringing help to those who need it most,” said Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

In the aftermath of the blast, 19 countries have provided specialized search and rescue services, chemical assessment teams and medical teams, as well as medical equipment and other assistance through the EU Civilian Protection Mechanism.

At the international donor conference on Sunday, organised by France, EU made it clear that the humanitarian aid will be not be delivered directly to the Lebanese authorities but “channelled through UN agencies, NGOs and international organizations and wild be subject to strict control”.

The Lebanese government, which rejects an international and transparent investigation of the blast, has since then resigned amid daily protests in the streets against the government’s incompetence and corruption.

The Brussels Times

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