The Latest: German sending 10 million euros to Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the explosion in Beirut (all times local):
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says his country will provide an additional 10 million euros in emergency aid to Lebanon following the explosion that killed more than 150 people and injured thousands more.
In a statement Sunday, Maas said that “even after the worst of the rubble is removed there will remain a lot to do” because even before the disaster Lebanon faced “overwhelming challenges.”
Maas said that “without urgently needed reforms there can be neither sustainable change nor stability.”
Berlin is the second biggest bilateral donor to Lebanon, according to the German Foreign Ministry. Since 2012, Germany has provided more than 1.2 billion euros in development aid to the country, as well as 634 million euros for humanitarian work.
France is sending a helicopter carrier and a cargo ship loaded with aid and supplies to Beirut as the country is organizing an international donors’ conference for Lebanon.
The French foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that the two ships come in addition to eight flights scheduled since the Beirut devastating blast to bring experts, rescue workers and supplies.
The Tonnerre helicopter carrier, which has a hospital onboard, is leaving on Sunday the port of Toulon, on the French Mediterranean coast. It is carrying medical equipment and staff, engineering forces, construction materials and food aid including flour, baby food and drinking water.
A cargo ship loaded with aid will also leave France in the coming days.
In total, France is sending 18 tons of medical aid including medicines, vaccines and hygiene kits and 663 tons of food aid, the foreign ministry said.
A top USAID official says $15 million in American assistance in response to the port explosion in Beirut will not be under the control of the government there but is intended to go directly to those who need it most.
Speaking ahead of his departure for Beirut, John Barsa said Sunday that assistance would be directed to medical authorities at the American University of Beirut and the American Lebanese University.
The U.S. is providing money to the World Food Program for emergency meals for about 300,000 people affected by the explosion at the Beirut port in addition to emergency medical kits, U.S. officials said.
Pope Francis has renewed his appeal for unity within Lebanon and for help from abroad as the nation reels from the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port.
In remarks Sunday to the public in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff said the “catastrophe calls on everyone, beginning with the Lebanese, to work together for the common good of this beloved country.”
Francis cited what he called Lebanon’s “particular identify,” which has “emerged over the course of time as a model of living together.”
But he acknowledged the fragility of such co-existence in such a trying time. Still, he said. he is praying that, “with God’s help, and everyone genuine participation,” Lebanon may be “reborn free and strong.”
He also appealed to the international community to generously aid Lebanon at this time of tragedy.
A team of German engineers sent to Lebanon to help search for people trapped in the rubble after last week’s explosion in Beirut is returning home, having failed to find any survivors.
Joerg Eger, who heads the THW agency’s rapid rescue team in Lebanon, said Sunday that a number of specialist engineers would remain in Beirut until Thursday to assist in determining the safety of buildings affected by the blast.
TWF is a federal agency, but most of the people who go on missions are volunteers.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that an international donors’ conference is aiming to show global support for Lebanon after the devastating Beirut blast.
Over 30 international leaders and government officials were taking part Sunday in the video conference co-organized by France and the United Nations to raise money, including President Donald Trump, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Officials from China, European countries and Gulf countries were also attending.
Turkey and Russia, absent from the conference, are expected to provide aid as well, Macron said in his opening speech.
Macron, who was the first foreign leader to visit Beirut in the wake of the explosion, said emergency aid will focus on providing medicine, care, food and housing.
“It is important that aid goes as quickly as possible to public and private actors, NGOs and the civilian society,” under U.N. supervision, he added.
Macron also called on Lebanese authorities to carry out essential political and economic reforms to fight corruption in the country.