Beirut explosion: offers of help pour in from international community

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Leaders from around the world have stepped up to offer Lebanon assistance after a massive explosion that tore through the Beirut port on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people.

The explosion wounded thousands more and caused widespread damage, striking yet another blow to a nation already reeling from financial meltdown and a spike in coronavirus cases. Officials said the explosion occurred because of bad storage of ammonium nitrate that should have been removed years ago.

A number of UAE officials paid tribute to the Lebanese people and offered solace and strength.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our Lebanese brothers and sisters during these trying times," Sheikh , Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces tweeted on Tuesday evening.

"We pray that God grants you patience and solace. God bless Lebanon and the Lebanese people."

Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of , posted a photograph of the Lebanese flag, accompanied by a message of support.

Gulf countries including the UAE maintain close ties with Beirut and have long provided financial aid and diplomatic assistance to mediate Lebanon’s political and sectarian divisions.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also 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 colours of the Lebanese flag.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry affirmed "the Kingdom's full support and solidarity with the brotherly Lebanese people", Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

France, the country that had exerted the most effort to try to help Lebanon before its economy collapsed in October, said it is “on the side” of its former colonial possession.

"France is always on the side of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. It is ready to offer assistance depending on the needs expressed by Lebanese authorities," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of the explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. AFP

Smoke rises after the explosion in Beirut. Reuters

Smoke billows from an area of a large explosion that rocked the harbor area of Beirut, Lebanon. EPA

The aftermath of blast in Beirut. Sunniva Rose/ The National

The scene of the explosion that rocked Beirut. AFP

The harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of the explosion, Beirut, Lebanon. EPA

A man reacts at the scene of an explosion at the port in Lebanon's capital Beirut. AFP

Smoke rises after an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Reuters

The scene of the explosion at the port in Beirut. AFP

The scene of the explosion at the port in Beirut. AFP

The scene of the explosion in Beirut. AFP

People gather near the scene of the explosion in Beirut. AFP

The scene of the blast in Beirut. AFP

The scene of the explosion that rocked Beirut. AFP

The scene of the explosion in Beirut. AFP

A wounded man is checked by a fireman near the scene of the explosion in Beirut. AFP

A resident stands in the street by a destroyed car, following the explosion nearby at the Port of Beirut. Bloomberg

Smoke rises after the explosion was heard in Beirut. Reuters

Firefighters spray water at a fire after the explosion in Beirut. Reuters

People walk at scene of the explosion in Beirut. AFP

The blast at Beirut port. Twitter/ @borzou

Army personnel around entrance to port.

The aftermath of the blast in Beirut. Sunniva Rose/ The National

The aftermath of the blast in Beirut. Sunniva Rose/The National

The aftermath of the blast in Beirut. Sunniva Rose/ The National

The aftermath of blast in Beirut. Sunniva Rose/ The National

Sailors evacuate their damaged ship near the explosion in Beirut. AP Photo

A vehicle stands damaged on a road following a large explosion at the Port of Beirut. Bloomberg

Firefighters try to extinguish flames after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut. EPA

People and journalists gather at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut. AFP

Israel, which last fought a war in Lebanon with Hezbollah in 2006, offered the Lebanese government "medical humanitarian aid" through diplomatic channels, an Israeli Defence Ministry statement said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “as always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary”

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. Stay strong, Lebanon," Mr Zarif said.

The US State Department said it is closely following the reports of the explosion and its aftermath and that Washington is ready to offer “all possible assistance.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain stood ready to provide any support it could to help Beirut after a massive explosion in the city’s port area killed 25 people and injured more than 2,500.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “the pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia “shares the grief of the Lebanese people.”

“Please convey the words of sympathy and support to the families of those killed and wishes of the soonest recovery to those injured," he said in a message to Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

Updated: August 5, 2020 12:16 AM

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