In a letter to EU member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel called for aiding Lebanon in order to “act immediately in order to avoid an even more grave tragedy”, Hungarian news portal Mandiner reports.
On August 5, 2020 several tons of previously seized ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded in the port of Beirut, killing at least 137 people, wounding an estimated 5,000 and rendering 200,000-250,000 people homeless.
“At this difficult time, the European Union offers its full support to the Lebanese people. As an immediate first response, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated at the request of the Lebanese authorities,” said EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič from Slovenia.
He said that the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to coordinate the emergency deployment of more than 100 specially trained firefighters with their vehicles, rescue equipment and dogs to help the local authorities in their search-and-rescue efforts.
A Commission spokesman quoted von der Leyen as saying that “the European Union attaches great importance to the unity and stability of Lebanon, which are all the more important today, both internally and for the region.”
A number of EU member states, including the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Poland have already announced that they will take part in the operation.
Hungary announced on Wednesday that it is sending €1 million in direct financial aid and a medical rescue team from Debrecen University.
Title image: A soldier stands at the devastated site of the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron came to Beirut to offer French support to Lebanon after the deadly port blast. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)