Beirut Blast — Death Toll at 154, Donor Conference Sunday

  • The number of people missing due to the Beirut tragedy was estimated at 100 two days ago.
  • European Council President Charles Michel is scheduled to visit Beirut on Saturday, and a donor video conference for Lebanon will be held on Sunday.
  • Besides the tragedy, Lebanon is currently experiencing a serious economic crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic.

Tuesday’s Beirut blast has so far claimed at least 154 lives. The information was relayed on Friday by the Lebanese Health Minister, Hamad Hassan. The minister added that 120 of the wounded are in a critical condition. The previous last balance sheet by the Ministry of Health had reported 149 deaths.

On the evening of 4 August 2020, at 18:08 EEST, multiple explosions occurred in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The main explosion was linked to approximately 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons) of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port without proper safety measures for the previous six years.

The health minister, who spoke upon receiving an Algerian medical delegation that arrived in Lebanon to help with relief and rescue tasks, said that about 20% of the 5,000 injured in the blasts had to be hospitalized.

The number of people missing due to the Beirut tragedy was estimated at 100 two days ago. The blast left up to 300,000 people homeless. The Lebanese authorities are still carrying on rescue efforts in the areas most affected by the explosion, around the port, in search for survivors.

It has since been revealed that about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that were stored in the port of Beirut was the cause of the terrible explosions, which led to the declaration of the capital as a “disaster zone.” On Wednesday, a state of emergency in Beirut was declared for two weeks.

Donor Video Conference Scheduled for Sunday

European Council President Charles Michel is scheduled to visit Beirut on Saturday, and a donor video conference for Lebanon will be held on Sunday. The conference has been organized by France under the stewardship of the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, the European institutions announced today.

According to spokesman for community executive Eric Mamer, the European Commission will participate on Sunday in the donor videoconference, “which aims to collect funds for emergency humanitarian aid.” The community executive will be represented by the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Janez Lenarcic.

Charles Michel is a Belgian politician serving as President of the European Council since 2019. He previously served as Prime Minister of Belgium between 2014 and 2019.

Charles Michel announced on Twitter that he will travel to Beirut to bear witness to Europe’s solidarity with the Lebanese people, with meetings scheduled with the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, the President of Parliament, Nabih Berri, and the Prime Minister, Hassan Diab. “Shocked and saddened, we stand with all those affected and will provide help,” Michel tweeted.

The violent explosions originated from explosive materials confiscated and stored for several years in the port of the Lebanese capital. The explosion caused significant material damage, and material losses of between €2.5 billion and €3 billion, according to the authorities in the Lebanese capital.

Under Beirut’s state of emergency, the Armed Forces will be put in charge of ensuring security in the area, where residents continue to try to clear the streets and rescue some of their lost objects.

Besides the tragedy, Lebanon is currently experiencing a serious economic crisis, marked by an unprecedented devaluation of its currency, hyperinflation, and mass layoffs. These have been aggravated by the new coronavirus pandemic, which forced the authorities to confine the population for three months.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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