Beirut explosion: World reacts to deadly blast in Lebanon capital
World leaders have offered support to Lebanon following a massive explosion that killed at least 73 people and wounded more than 3,700 in the capital, Beirut.
While the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, Lebanon’s internal security chief Abbas Ibrahim said the site of the blast in the port area of the city was housing highly explosive materials.
The explosion released shockwaves through the city, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.
Hours after the blast, ambulances continued to carry away the wounded as army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port. Officials expect the death toll to rise.
Here’s how the world has reacted:
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with the Lebanese and said France was sending resources to the site of the blast.
“I express my fraternal solidarity with the Lebanese after the explosion which claimed so many victims and damages this evening in Beirut. France stands alongside Lebanon. Always. French aid and resources are being transported on the spot [of the explosion],” Macron wrote on Twitter.
J’exprime ma solidarité fraternelle avec les Libanais après l’explosion qui a fait tant de victimes et de dégâts ce soir à Beyrouth. La France se tient aux côtés du Liban. Toujours. Des secours et moyens français sont en cours d’acheminement sur place.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 4, 2020
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also sent a message of support to Lebanon, writing on Twitter that France is ready to assist any need the Lebanese authorities will express.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran was ready to assist in any way and urged Lebanon to “stay strong”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary.
Stay strong, Lebanon.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 4, 2020
“As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon.”
Israel said it had offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels, as the neighbours have no diplomatic relations.
“Under the direction of Minister of Defence Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese government medical humanitarian aid,” Gantz wrote on Twitter.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his readiness to help Lebanon in any possible way.
“The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. 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,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. 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.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 4, 2020
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called President Michel Aoun to offer condolences, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency. The Gulf country said it would send field hospitals to support Lebanon’s medical response.
HH the Amir held via telephone a conversation with Lebanon’s President, during which His Highness expressed his condolences to the President and the brotherly Lebanese people on the victims of the explosion in Beirut port, wishing a speedy recovery for the injured. #QNA pic.twitter.com/5ZcFzarhzp
— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) August 4, 2020
Sheikh Tamim wished “a speedy recovery for the injured”, QNA reported, adding that he “expressed Qatar’s solidarity with brotherly Lebanon and its willingness to provide all kinds of assistance”.
President Donald Trump said he sent his sympathies to Lebanon for the dozens of people killed and thousands wounded in the blast, which he cast as an attack, and offered US help.
“The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “We will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the blast as a “tragedy” and offered US assistance to Lebanon.
“We are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
Pompeo in an accompanying statement said that the US will wait for the findings of Lebanese authorities on the cause of the blast.
“Our team in Beirut has reported to me the extensive damage to a city and a people that I hold dear, an additional challenge in a time of already deep crisis,” said Pompeo, who has spoken in the past of his personal interest in Lebanon.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu offered his condolences to the Lebanese people, adding that Ankara was ready to assist in “every way”.
“Wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives in the explosion occurred in the port of Beirut. Condolences to the brotherly and friendly people of Lebanon. Hoping there won’t be any more losses. Ready to assist our Lebanese brothers & sisters in every way,” said Cavusoglu.
Turkish President Erdogan also offered humanitarian assistance in a phone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it is following with great concern the consequences of Beirut’s port explosion, according to the state news agency.
The statement also affirmed the kingdom’s full support and solidarity with the Lebanese people.
#Statement | The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is watching with grave concern the aftermath of the explosion that occurred in the port of #Beirut today, which resulted in deaths and injuries.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) August 4, 2020
The German foreign ministry said staff at the German embassy were wounded in the explosion.
“The wounded also include embassy personnel,” the ministry said. “We cannot for the moment exclude German nationals figuring among the dead and wounded.”
The German embassy building, located not far from the port, was damaged but the “seriousness of the damage cannot yet be determined for now,” the foreign ministry said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said through her spokeswoman that she was shocked by the event and promised aid for Lebanon.
The Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio took to social media to wish “a speedy recovery” to those wounded in the blast.
“Italy is close to Lebanese friends in this tragic moment. Our thoughts go to the families of the victims, to whom we express our deep condolences, and to the injured people, to whom we wish a speedy recovery,” Di Maio said
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