Rescuers continue to search the rubble three days after the explosions that destroyed the port of the Lebanese capital, leaving 154 dead.
Three days after the explosions in the port of Beirut that left at least 154 deaths, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, international rescuers continue to search the rubble on Friday, August 7 in search of survivors. The explosion of unparalleled power, the most devastating experienced by Lebanon, fueled the anger of the population, which in October 2019 sparked a huge protest movement against the ruling class.
The outrage is all the greater because the government has proved unable to justify the presence of ammonium nitrate in leport “without precautionary measures”, according to the Prime Minister’s own acknowledgment. “The cause has not yet been determined. There is the possibility of an external intervention such as a missile, a bomb or other means,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun confirmed for his part, according to remarks reported by several media outlets.
Sixteen officials arrested and detained
The head of state added that the investigations took place on three levels: “First how the explosive material came in and was stored […].Otherwise, the explosion is the result of negligence or accident […] and thirdly, the possibility of external interference. So far, sixteen port and customs officials have been arrested and detained as part of the investigation.
Near the epicenter of the explosion, near the giant grain silos, rescue workers, including French, Italians and Germans, coordinated their efforts. On Friday morning, four bodies of rescuers were found in the harbor almost completely destroyed. The blast also left more than 5,000 injured, dozens missing and hundreds of thousands homeless in nearby devastated neighborhoods.
The UN appeals for international aid
In the face of the emergency, international support is flowing to Beirut. On Friday, the UN agencies launched an urgent demand for international solidarity, in addition to the $ 9 million already released from UN humanitarian funds.
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The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, travels to Beirut on Saturday to “show Europe’s solidarity with the Lebanese people” and to meet the leaders of this battered country. For their part, the donors for Lebanon will meet on Sunday, according to the European Commission.
Several countries, including France, have sent medical and medical equipment as well as field hospitals. French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the site on Thursday, demanded an international inquiry into the explosion. The European Union released 33 million euros in emergencies and the US military sent three shipments of water, food and medicine.
>> Also read on France24.com: “Food shortages, health risks … Humanitarian aid crucial for Lebanon’s future”
Support from Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia was expected on Friday. Finally, in the huge sports city of Beirut, Russia has installed a field hospital and erected about twenty medical tents where the first patients have begun to arrive, while the capital’s hospitals are saturated.
In the face of the authorities’ silence, anger increased a notch on Thursday night in the capital. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. Talks are circulating on social networks for a demonstration against the government on Saturday under the theme “Hang them”.
At least 16 Beirut port officials were arrested