From the United States to France via China, Russia and Egypt, international donors are meeting on Sunday August 9 at 2 p.m. for a videoconference intended to mobilize emergency humanitarian aid for Lebanon.
Organized at the initiative of France and the United Nations (UN), the online conference should mark the beginning of a “Emergency and hope for the future” of the country, the French presidency said on Saturday. The first leader to visit the Lebanese capital after the deadly explosion, Emmanuel Macron on Thursday promised Beirut rapid and massive aid from the international community.
The huge explosion Tuesday, in a warehouse in the port of the Lebanese capital, left at least 158 dead, 6,000 wounded, tens of missing and hundreds of thousands homeless.
Health needs estimated at 85 million dollars
US President Donald Trump announced he would attend this meeting: “Everyone wants to help! “ he added, mentioning that he spoke with the French president. The European institutions are also mobilizing.
Israel will not be “Not in the round table” of this conference, we said at the Elysee, but a contact is “Taken by the UN”. For its part, Iran has “Not manifested his will to participate”, more “The Gulf countries – Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia – have been invited”, added the Elysee, specifying not to have “No doubt that they will be represented”.
If the UN has estimated at 85 million dollars (72.1 million euros) Lebanon’s needs for the health sector alone, the entourage of the French president did not want to give the amount of aid which could be cleared on Sunday.
“The immediate objective is to provide for the emergency needs of Lebanon, on conditions which allow aid to go directly to the population”, explained the Elysee. The priorities aim “The consolidation of damaged buildings, emergency medical aid, food aid and the restoration of hospitals and schools”. “The methodology is the one that international organizations use, there is a need that we do not write a blank check to the Lebanese government”, continued this same source.
The exasperation of the population
The devastation caused by the explosion is one catastrophe too many for the Lebanese. The country has been plunged for months into a very serious economic crisis, marked by an unprecedented depreciation of its currency, hyperinflation, massive layoffs and drastic banking restrictions.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched through downtown Beirut. Led by retired officers, they stormed the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, proclaiming it “Headquarters of the Revolution”. For the French presidency, the demonstrations “Testify to the exasperation, the distress of the population, the need for things to change”.
At the same time, international aid continues to flow. As soon as the explosion was announced, several countries, first and foremost France, sent relief personnel and material aid. In particular, the country has set up an air and sea bridge to deliver more than 18 tonnes of medical aid and nearly 700 tonnes of food aid. A cargo plane left on Saturday, two more were en route on Sunday.
The latest initiative, the Canadian government is launching a relief fund for Lebanon and calling on Canadians to be generous.