Lebanon rescue ops continue as blast death toll hits 137

  • Rescue operations continued as members of the Lebanese Red Cross, army soldiers and volunteers searched for people listed missing under the rubble in areas near the port.
  • Officials said the death toll from the explosion killing at least 137 people and injuring 5,000 more, was expected to rise.
  • Investigators in Lebanon probing the deadly blast that ripped across Beirut were focusing on possible negligence in the storage of tonnes of a highly explosive fertiliser in a waterfront warehouse, while the government ordered the house arrest of several port officials.
  • Lebanon’s cabinet declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handed control of security in the city to the military.
  • Thursday, August 6

    09:30 GMT – At least four Bangladeshis killed in Beirut blast

    At least four Bangladeshis were killed and 80 others were wounded, Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Twenty-one Bangladesh Navy crewmen were among the injured, as a Bangladeshi naval ship at the Beirut port was damaged.

    According to government data, around 150,000 Bangladeshis are currently working in the Mediterranean country.

    09:19 GMT – Bangladesh to send food and medical aid

    Bangladesh announced it was sending emergency food and medical aid to the Lebanese capital Beirut in the wake of a deadly explosion.

    The country “has decided to send food items, medical equipment, and medical teams to Lebanon, Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The decision follows a Wednesday phone call in which Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen expressed his condolences to his Lebanese counterpart Charbel Wehbe on the victims of Tuesday’s deadly blast.

    09:11 GMT – Lebanon gives investigating committee four days to find culprits

    The government of Lebanon has given an “investigative committee” four days to determine responsibility for the devastating explosion in Beirut port on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe told French radio.

    “This morning, a decision was taken to create an investigative committee which in four days maximum must provide a detailed report on responsibility – how, who, what, where? There will be judicial decisions,” he told Europe 1 radio.

    “It is serious, and we take it seriously,” Wehbe said.

    “Those responsible for this horrible crime of negligence will be punished by a committee of judges,” he added.

    08:38 GMT – Lebanon’s financial capacity ‘very limited’, economy minister says after blast

    The Lebanese state and central bank have “very limited” financial capacity to confront the impact of the port warehouse explosion that devastated Beirut without foreign aid, its economy minister said.

    “The capacity of the state is very limited, and so is that of the central bank and the banks. We’re not swimming in dollars,” Raoul Nehme said in TV comments to Sky News Arabia.

    He said working with the International Monetary Fund was the only way out for Lebanon, which was already wrestling with a dollar crunch and financial meltdown before Tuesday’s blast.

    08:25 GMT – French presidency says Macron to go directly to disaster area

    A French presidential official said French President Emmanuel Macron will go directly to the port and meet Lebanese and French teams in the disaster area upon his arrival in Beirut.

    Later in the day, Macron will head to the presidential palace for meetings with top officials. He will also meet with members of different political factions and civil society.

    The French official said Macron’s trip is meant to show that Lebanon is not alone and to give the Lebanese people confidence. Macron has said his role is to show that he believes in the country.

    08:18 GMT – Iraq to send oil aid to Lebanon

    Iraq announced that it will send oil to Lebanon following a massive explosion earlier this week in the capital Beirut which left many dead and injured and caused widespread destruction.

    A team led by Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail has arrived in Lebanon and has been received by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, said a statement by Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

    Along with medical aid, oil aid will be made to Lebanon, and tankers carrying oil will leave for Beirut from Baghdad, the statement added.The tankers will pass through Syria.

    08:03 GMT – Lebanon diaspora mobilises ‘financial bloodline’ in wake of blast

    Lebanon’s diaspora, estimated at nearly three times the size of the tiny country’s population of five million, has stepped up to provide assistance following the massive explosion that laid waste to the capital Beirut.

    Lebanese expats rushed to wire money to loved ones who lost their homes or were injured in the blast on Tuesday that killed at least 135 people, while others worked to create special funds to address the tragedy.

    07:47 GMT – Turkish aid, search and rescue team arrives in Beirut

    A Turkish military plane carrying aid and a search and rescue team arrived in Beirut, authorities announced.

    Aid material prepared by the Turkish ministry of health, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) was loaded on a plane from Ankara.

    The aircraft was carrying 21 National Medical Rescue personnel, two emergency units, three tents, medicine and medical equipment, 10 AFAD personnel, equipment, a search and rescue vehicle, three Kizilay personnel, a search and rescue team and medical and humanitarian aid.

    AFAD President Mehmet Gulluoglu said more aid and emergency medical doctors will be on their way to Beirut.

    07:23 GMT – Rescue operation and search for the missing continue after blast

    Rescue operations were continuing as Lebanon awaited assistance following the massive explosion that rocked Beirut port and left the city in devastation.

    Members of the Lebanese Red Cross, army soldiers and volunteers were still searching for people listed missing under the rubble in areas near the port.

    “I am waiting here, I am not moving. My brother works inside the port and we have not heard of him since the explosion took place,” screamed Fatima as she stood nearby.

    Civil defence workers were also busy examining building structures amid concerns that some might collapse after they were affected by the blast.

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