Emergency medical aid and pop-up field hospitals were dispatched to Lebanon on Wednesday with rescue experts and tracking dogs, as the world contacted victims of the explosion that devastated Beirut.
The blast centered on the city’s port caused massive destruction and killed at least 113 people, sowing misery in a country already in crisis.
The Gulf states were among the first to respond, with Qatar sending mobile hospitals to ease pressure on the Lebanese medical system, already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
A Qatari Air Force plane with a cargo of hundreds of foldable beds, generators and burn plates has landed in Beirut in the first of a convoy of flights to the Mediterranean country.
Medical supplies from Kuwait also arrived, as the Lebanese Red Cross said more than 4,000 people were being treated for injuries after the explosion, which blew shards of glass and debris.
A Greek army C-130 transport plane carrying a dozen rescuers landed at Beirut airport, itself damaged in the catastrophic explosion.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab called on “friendly countries” to support a nation already reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades as well as the impact of the coronavirus.
As emergency teams lifted survivors from the rubble of demolished buildings, France said it was sending search and rescue experts aboard three military planes loaded with a mobile clinic and tons of medical and health supplies. .
President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Lebanon on Thursday, becoming the first world leader to visit Beirut after the disaster, as France seeks to speed up the reconstruction of its former colony.
“France is alongside Lebanon. Always,” Macron tweeted in Arabic.
Cyprus – which is just 240 kilometers to the north-west and where Tuesday’s explosion was both heard and seen – said it was sending eight police tracking dogs and their handlers aboard two helicopters , to help search for victims trapped under rubble.
Tunisia offered to send medical teams to collect 100 wounded and evacuate them for treatment, as well as to send two military carriers carrying food and medical aid.
From Europe, authorities in the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Poland offered a range of assistance including doctors, police and firefighters, as well as rescue experts and sniffer dogs.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran was “ready to offer medical and medical assistance and help treat the wounded,” and Jordan’s King Abdullah II also pledged to send a field hospital.
The United Arab Emirates sent 30 tons of medicines, medical supplies and surgical equipment.
– ‘Stay strong, Lebanon’ –
The World Health Organization said it was shipping trauma and surgery kits from its base in Dubai after what it called a “shocking event” that comes at a “particularly difficult time in Lebanon.”
“As you have seen, many hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded and people are still looking for the wounded and the dead, so it’s a very sad day,” said UN agency emergency director Michael Ryan during an online session.
Lebanon’s close allies and traditional adversaries sent their condolences, with Iran and Saudi Arabia – longtime rivals for influence over the country – both sending messages of support.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great resilient people of Lebanon,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
“Stay strong, Lebanon.”
Saudi Arabia said it was following the situation with “great concern.”
Unusually, neighboring Israel has offered humanitarian aid – to a country with which it is still technically at war – through international intermediaries.
The Lebanese flag was due to be projected on Tel Aviv city hall later Wednesday, in Israel’s latest gesture.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed his “deepest condolences … following the horrific explosions in Beirut,” which also injured some UN staff.
US President Donald Trump, who said it looked like “a terrible attack” without giving any evidence, said: “Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families … The United States stands ready to help Lebanon.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the photos and videos of Beirut “shocking”.
And Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and their families so that they “may face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the serious crisis they are going through”.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)