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India rushes relief and humanitarian aid to Lebanon

India rushes relief and humanitarian aid to Lebanon

With a mounting death toll and the wide extent of devastation that wrecked parts of Beirut, India plans to send relief and humanitarian assistance to Lebanon immediately. India is sending food materials, medicines and essential items immediately and is also talking with Lebanon on their other needs.

The massive explosion that happened last week was caused due to the presence of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate—a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers—stored on the Beirut port. The explosion emitted an orange cloud and destroyed the port and large parts of Lebanon's capital city. It caused nearly 200 deaths, injured over 5,000 people and left nearly 300,000 homeless.

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India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti offered condolences on behalf of the Government and people of India to Lebanon on "this terrible human tragedy." At a briefing on the situation in Lebanon Tirumurti said: "We are shocked by the loss of human lives and the widespread destruction this has caused in Beirut. We pray for strength to families to overcome their great loss."

Tirumurti added that India had recently sent essential medical items to Lebanon to combat Covid-19. In his address, Tirumurti recalled that he had visited the "beautiful city of Beirut" last year, and added: "I admire the resilience of the people and the dedication of the rescue workers to cope with this tragedy."

The explosions destroyed many hospitals and a storehouse of grain. Many foreign workers are missing after the explosions. Over 20 members of the Bangladesh Navy Ship <em>BNS Bijoy</em>, part of the United Nations peacekeeping operation's Maritime Task Force, were injured in the blast.

French President Emmanuel Macron had visited Beirut on Thursday and organized a virtual conference with the UN to raise aid for Beirut. US President Donald Trump and members of the European Union attended the conference along with 30 other countries and organizations. International donors pledged $297 million in aid through this virtual summit.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for international support for Lebanon. Addressing a virtual meeting at the UN, he said, "I call for robust international support for all people in need in Lebanon, especially women and girls who are most vulnerable in times of crisis."

The blasts have caused much unrest in the country and angry people held massive protests against the negligence by the government. The port officials have been prohibited from travelling and 16 have been arrested. The government is also questioning customs officials on how the tragedy happened..