Offers of Assistance Pour in for Lebanon after Beirut Explosion

Offers of Assistance Pour in for Lebanon after Beirut Explosion

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Countries around the world have been paying tribute to victims of a deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday and sending offers of assistance to Lebanon.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Aoun, and said Turkey was ready to provide humanitarian aid as needed, according to a statement by the presidency.

Qatar has also promised to send field hospitals to support the medical response.

During a phone call with Aoun, Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani offered his condolences and wished "a speedy recovery for the injured".

Elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted that "our hearts are with Beirut and its people".

He posted the tribute alongside an image of Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, illuminated in the colors of the Lebanese flag.

"Our prayers during these difficult hours are that God... protects brotherly Lebanon and the Lebanese to reduce their affliction and heal their wounds," he wrote.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees extended his best wishes after the tragedy in Beirut.

"With my many Lebanese friends and colleagues tonight, and with all the people of Lebanon — in solidarity, wishing them renewed strength and much courage," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi tweeted Tuesday.

"My thoughts and heart are with people in Beirut, Lebanon, who lost loved ones or were injured in the explosion this afternoon," World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted Tuesday, expressing his support for a country already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic among other crises.

The WHO's director-general added that his organization "stands ready to support the government and healthworkers in saving lives".

French President Emmanuel Macron also said French aid and resources were being sent to Lebanon.

“I express my fraternal solidarity with the Lebanese people after the explosion which claimed so many victims and caused so much damage this evening in Beirut. France stands alongside Lebanon. And always will. French assistance and resources are on their way,” he said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country stood ready to provide any support it could to help.

"The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking," Johnson wrote on Twitter. "All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.

"The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected."

In the United States, the State Department was closely following reports of an explosion in Beirut and stands ready to offer 'all possible assistance', a spokesperson for the agency said.

"We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time," it said.

Lebanese authorities said at least 78 people have been killed and some 4,000 wounded in a massive explosion at the port in the capital, Beirut. The explosion on Tuesday sent shockwaves across the city, causing widespread damage even on the outskirts of the capital.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Officials linked the explosion to some 2,700 tons of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun assembled the country's High Defense Council following the explosion. Aoun said that it was "unacceptable" that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures, according to statements published on the presidency's Twitter account.

He also pledged that those responsible would face the "harshest punishments" and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.

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