Beirut Blast — Lebanese Information Minister First to Resign

  • Thousands of people took to the streets during the "Day of Anger" protests in Beirut on Saturday.
  • In his televised speech, Prime Minister Hasan Diab said he would call early elections due to the crisis in the country.
  • Representatives from the European Union countries, as well as China, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, and the UK attended the summit.

Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdussamed resigned after the explosion in Beirut Port. The minister  said, “I apologize to the Lebanese.” She added, “we did not live up to your expectations.” Elsewhere, world leaders held a summit Sunday to raise aid to Lebanon.

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 summit came five days after the explosion that destroyed much of the Lebanese capital. The summit was organized by France and the United Nations (UN) over the internet. US President Donald Trump also announced that he was planning to attend the summit.

It is estimated that the explosion was caused by nearly 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate in Beirut’s port, and caused $15 billion in damage. At least 158 ​​people died in the explosion, 5,000 people were injured and 300,000 people were left homeless.

Thousands of people took to the streets during the “Day of Anger” protests in Beirut on Saturday. Many ministry buildings were occupied by the demonstrators for a while. Security forces intervened in the protest with tear gas and water cannons.

In his televised speech, Prime Minister Hasan Diab said he would call early elections due to the crisis in the country. The issue is expected to be raised at the Ministerial meeting on Monday.

Turkey has announced that it is ready for the reconstruction of the Beirut Port. French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Beirut on Thursday, promised to organize more international aid.

In the statement made by the Presidential Palace of France, it was stated that the meeting on Sunday aimed “to organize and coordinate the emergency aid from the international community by bringing together the main partners of Lebanon in the international arena.”

Representatives from the European Union countries, as well as China, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, and the UK also attended the meeting. Representatives from the UN, Arab League, and Red Cross also attended the summit.

US President Trump has also talked to Macron about the “catastrophic incident,” and said he would attend the summit. “We will be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon, and leaders from various other parts of the world. Everyone wants to help!” Trump tweeted.

Hassan Diab is a Lebanese engineer and academic who since 21 January 2020 has been serving as the Prime Minister of Lebanon after the formation of a cabinet, having been appointed to the position by President Michel Aoun. Prior to his prime ministership, Diab served as the Lebanese Minister of Education from 2011 to 2014, under President Michel Suleiman.

At the summit, Britain announced that it would provide another £20 million, in addition to the £5 million aid package promised earlier this week. The UN had announced that Lebanon needed $100 million for short-term emergency relief supplies, such as water and food, and long-term reconstruction activities.

A number of countries have already pledged millions of dollars in aid to Beirut. However, UN agencies called for more assistance. Many homes in Beirut are without water or electricity, and there are concerns about food shortages.

There is also an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country, and hospitals, which were under intense pressure due to COVID-19 cases before the explosion, have difficulty catching up with the injured.

Turkey has sent medical and search and rescue personnel and humanitarian supplies. Vice President Fuat Oktay went to Beirut on Saturday with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and made various visits. Lebanese President Michel Aun received Oktay and his accompanying team at the Baabda Palace.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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