France sends rescuers, equipment to Lebanon

AFP , Wednesday 5 Aug 2020

An aerial view shows the massive damage done to Beirut port's grain silos (C) and the area around it on August 5, 2020, one day after a mega-blast tore through the harbour in the heart of the Lebanese capital with the force of an earthquake, killing more than 100 people and injuring over 4,000. (Photo: AFP)

France will send two military planes to Lebanon Wednesday with search and rescue experts, 15 tonnes of sanitary equipment and a mobile clinic equipped to treat 500 people injured in Tuesday's monster blast at Beirut port, the presidency said.

The planes will leave from Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris around midday (1000 GMT) to arrive in Beirut late afternoon with 55 civil security personnel on board, it said.

A dozen emergency personnel will also be sent to Beirut shortly "to reinforce hospitals in the Lebanese capital," said the presidency.

President Emmanuel Macron called his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun Tuesday to express France's support for the Lebanese people and promising a dispatch of French aid.

The 55 rescuers being deployed Wednesday are specialists in post-disaster rubble clearing and rescue, said the Elysee, adding France was working to "identify additional needs" on the ground in Beirut.

A cataclysmic explosion at Beirut port sowed devastation across entire neighbourhoods, killing more than 100 people and wounding thousands.

The blast appeared to have been caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured in a warehouse.

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