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Int’l Donors Pledge Nearly $298 Million after Beirut Blast

Int’l Donors Pledge Nearly $298 Million after Beirut Blast

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 16:45
A general view shows damages following Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

An emergency donor conference for Lebanon raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief on Sunday after last week's massive blast destroyed swathes of Beirut, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.

The online donor conference was hosted by Macron.

"The objective today is to act quickly and effectively to coordinate our aid on the ground so that it goes as efficiently as possible to the Lebanese people," Macron told the conference also attended by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, UN aid coordinator Mark Lowcock, representatives of the World Bank, the Red Cross, the IMF, the EU, the Arab League and several Middle Eastern leaders.

Macron was the first world leader to visit Beirut after Tuesday's devastating explosion which killed at least 158 people, wounded some 6,000 and left an estimated 300,000 homeless.

At Sunday’s conference, the EU pledged an additional 30 million euros ($35.36 million) in emergency support to Lebanon, the European Commission said. The humanitarian funding will be distributed to UN agencies and NGOs and its dispersal "strictly monitored".

Britain said an extra 20 million pounds ($26 million) would help provide food to the most vulnerable, in addition to 5 million pounds already made available.

Humanitarian experts from the UK are on the ground and the Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise will deploy to Beirut.

Germany also made an additional 10 million euros pledge on top of 1.5 million euros in emergency goods already deployed.

Spain said it will send humanitarian aid including medicines for mobile clinics and shelters for those who have lost their homes.

The flight, which will leave Spain on Tuesday, will also include 10 tons of wheat.

Switzerland pledged 4 million Swiss francs ($4.38 million) in direct aid at the donor conference.

Switzerland had already pledged 500,000 francs to the Lebanese Red Cross and has sent disaster specialists including civil engineers and logistics experts to Beirut.

President Donald Trump reaffirmed the United States stood ready to providing aid to help the people of Lebanon in their recovery.

Trump agreed with the other leaders to work closely together in the response efforts, the White House said.

The "assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people ... and directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency," the conference communique said.

Lebanon's partners were ready to support the country's longer-term economic recovery and required that Lebanon's leaders committed fully to the reforms expected by their people, it added.

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