Lebanon's President Michel Aoun (centre) wears a protective face mask as he visits the site of a massive explosion in Beirut on Wednesday. AFP
International aid in the form of emergency workers and medical personnel is heading to Lebanon a day after a massive explosion devastated Beirut’s port. Egypt has opened a field hospital in Beirut to receive the wounded.
Russia's emergency officials say the country will send five planeloads of aid to Beirut. Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Situations will send rescuers, medical workers, a makeshift hospital and a laboratory for coronavirus testing to Lebanon.
France says it is sending two planes with dozens of emergency workers, a mobile medical unit and 15 tonnes of aid. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office says the aid should allow for the treatment of some 500 victims.
Jordan says a military field hospital including all necessary personnel will be dispatched, according to the Royal Court.
France will send two military planes to Lebanon on 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 on Tuesday to express France's support for the Lebanese people and promising a dispatch of French aid.
French peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon, a former French protectorate, have been helping since the explosions, Macron’s office said.
The 55 French rescuers being deployed on 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.
Turkish aid group
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) is among those searching for survivors in Beirut after a massive blast in the city killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, and Ankara has offered to build a field hospital and help as needed.
"We've relayed our offer to help" including immediate work on the hospital, and "we are expecting a response from the Lebanese side," a senior Turkish official told Reuters.
Members of the IHH group were digging through debris to look for people and recover bodies, and the group mobilised a kitchen at a Palestinian refugee camp to deliver food to those in need, said Mustafa Ozbek, an Istanbul-based official from the group.
"We are providing assistance with one ambulance to transfer patients. We may provide help according to the needs of the hospital," he said.
Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek says Lebanon has accepted an offer to send a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to Beirut. Denmark says it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, and Greece says it is ready to help Lebanese authorities "with all means at its disposal.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanon would suspend all trips to and from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, the hardest hit countries. It would also stop arrivals from France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, he said.
Mustapha Adib, 48, Lebanon's former envoy to Germany, gave a televised speech acknowledging the "need to form a government in record time and to begin implementing reforms immediately."
In terms of international backing, Haftar enjoys the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and — now, clearly — the United States.
Taiwan scrambled fighter jets on Friday as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, including crossing the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, in an escalation of tensions as a senior US official held talks in Taipei.
Two Turkish soldiers were killed and another was wounded after Kurdish militants fired rockets at a military base in northern Iraq, Turkey's Defence Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Australia said on Friday it would increase the number of citizens allowed to return home each week to 6,000 as it manages to get new COVID-19 infections under control.