World offers support, condolences to Lebanon after devastating blasts

World offers support, condolences to Lebanon after devastating blasts

People run for cover following an explosion in Beirut's port area
People run for cover following an explosion in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: Close allies and traditional adversaries of Lebanon paid tribute on Tuesday (Aug 4) to the victims of massive and deadly twin blasts in Beirut, as condolences and offers of help poured in.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday called on "friendly countries" to support the country already reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am sending an urgent appeal to all countries that are friends and brothers and love Lebanon, to stand by its side and help us treat these deep wounds," he said in a televised address.

READ: Two explosions in Beirut port area rock Lebanon's capital, at least 78 dead and thousands injured

UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed his "deepest condolences ... following the horrific explosions in Beirut" which he said had also injured some United Nations personnel.

US President Donald Trump said "it looks like a terrible attack" and that US generals had told him that the powerful explosions appeared to have been caused by a "bomb of some kind", without offering evidence.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that "we are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy".

In the region, Gulf nations were among the first to react, with Qatar promising to send field hospitals to support the medical response.

Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished "a speedy recovery for the injured", while the United Arab Emirates' Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted "our condolences to our beloved people in Lebanon".

Kuwait said it would also send emergency medical aid.

ISRAEL AMONG COUNTRIES OFFERING HELP

An offer for humanitarian aid also came from neighbouring Israel, which is unusual considering that the two countries are still technically at war.

"Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government - via international intermediaries - medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance," a statement read.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Amman was ready to provide any help Lebanon needed, while Iran said it was "fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary".

Egypt expressed "deep concern" at the destruction, and Arab League chief Ahmed Aboulgheit offered condolences, stressing "the importance of finding the truth about the explosions".

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday offered condolences and medical support, writing to his Lebanese counterpart that Tehran "is ready to offer medical and medicinal aid and help treat the injured and other assistance".

Rouhani also expressed hope that the cause of the deadly blast would be uncovered and calm restored to Beirut as soon as possible.

Karim Hemmati, the head of Iran's Red Crescent Society, said in a statement that the organisation would send nine tonnes of food aid as well as medical supplies to Lebanon.

Lebanon's current government, which was unveiled in January, is made up of the pro-Iranian Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies.

RUSSIA, FRANCE, UK, CANADA OFFER SUPPORT

Outside the region, President Vladimir Putin said that "Russia shares the grief of the Lebanese people", according to a Kremlin statement.

"I ask you to convey words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, as well as wishes for a speedy recovery to all affected."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the country was "ready to provide assistance according to the needs expressed by the Lebanese authorities".

READ: Apocalyptic scenes as blasts ravage Beirut

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the pictures and videos from Beirut as "shocking".

"All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident," he wrote on Twitter. "The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected."

British junior education minister Nick Gibb said: "The government is working urgently this morning on what we can do to help the Lebanese government with technical support and of course working with our allies to provide financial assistance."

"There will be further announcements this morning and later today about what support we will be providing to Lebanon," he told BBC radio.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on social media: "We think of all those who were injured in this tragic explosion, as well as those who are trying to find a friend or family member or who have lost a loved one.

"We're ready to help you."

Source: Agencies/nh

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