LIVE: Macron urges independent probe of Beirut explosion | News

  • The Lebanese government has given an investigative committee probing the deadly blast that ripped across Beirut, four days to determine responsibility for the explosoin, Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe told French radio.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron offered France’s support for the Lebanese people on a visit to Beirut after the port blast, but said crisis-hit Lebanon would “continue to sink” unless its leaders carry out reforms.

  • Officials said the death toll from the explosion killing at least 157 people and injuring 5,000 others, was expected to rise as search and rescue operations continued for people listed missing under the rubble in areas near the port.

INTERACTIVE: Beirut explosion map

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, August 6

19:00 GMT – Lebanese holders of Qatar Residency Permit will get priority to return

Following the directives of Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Lebanese holders of Qatar Residency Permits who are currently in Lebanon and want to return to Qatar will be given priority.

Lebanese holders of Qatar Residency Permits will also be able to apply for entry for their immediate family members at the Qatar embassy in Beirut.

18:50 GMT – EU leaders call for additional support for Lebanon

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel have called for additional support for Lebanon. 

“The dramatic incident will have major economic consequences for a country that was already facing many challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the leaders said in a letter sent to the heads of state of the EU member states.

“We must keep in mind the strong partnership between the EU and Lebanon, a country of strategic importance which hosts the largest  number of refugees per capita.” 

18:35 GMT – UN releases $9m to help Beirut hospitals

The United Nations has said it is releasing $9m to address immediate needs following the explosion that devastated Beirut and help strengthen operations in the city’s hospitals.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the money from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund will be following by additional funds from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund.

He said the UN is carrying out assessments of the damage and needs resulting from the massive explosion and hopes to hold a meeting on Monday to inform the 193 UN member states of the results and launch an appeal to help Lebanon.

18:20 GMT – IMF urges Lebanon to break reform ‘impasse’ 

The International Monetary Fund has urged Lebanese officials to break an “impasse” and move ahead with reforms after a massive Beirut blast devastated the capital and cost the crisis-hit country billions in damages.

“It is essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms,” said the world body, which has been in talks with the Lebanese government since May over the country’s financial crisis. 

The talks have since hit a wall, with the IMF urging authorities “to put in place a meaningful program to turn around the economy” following Tuesday’s explosion, which it called a “disaster.”

18:05 GMT – US army to send supplies to Beirut

The US military is sending shipments of water, food and medicine to Lebanon. 

Deliveries of three C-17 military planes loaded with food, water and medical supplies are “impending,”  a spokesman for US Army Central Command chief General Frank McKenzie has said, without stating when they would arrive.

McKenzie said the US was ready to continue providing assistance to the Lebanese during the “terrible tragedy” in partnership with the Lebanese army, the US embassy in Lebanon and the US international aid agency, USAID. 

17:50 GMT –  Macron warns Lebanon reforms are needed within months

Lebanon needs to make key reforms to its electricity, banking, and customs sectors immediately “in an international framework,” French President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Macron warned that without reform and action against corruption, the country could start running out of fuel and food within months” and that will be the fault of those who refuse to act today.”

“There will be a before and an after August 4,” Macron said, adding that he sees hope for change in the “anger of the youth and the street.”

17:25 GMT – Lebanon coronavirus cases peak after deadly blast 

Lebanon coronavirus cases peak after deadly blast    

Lebanon hast recorded 255 new coronavirus cases – its highest single-day infection tally – after a monstrous blast upended a planned lockdown and sent thousands streaming into overflowing hospitals, already struggling to cope.

The health ministry figures were reported by the state-run National News Agency, which also announced two new deaths.

They bring the total number of COVID-19 infections in Lebanon to 4,604, including 70 deaths since the outbreak first began in February.

17:10 GMT – Macron: Aid conference for blast-hit Lebanon ‘in coming days’

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that an international aid conference for disaster-hit Lebanon would be held soon.  

Speaking to journalists at the end of snap visit to Beirut, he said the conference would be held “in the coming days”.

He stressed that the aid raised during the conference would be chaneled “directly to the people, the relief organisations and the teams that need it on the ground”.

Separately, the French leader stressed that an audit of the Lebanese central bank, among other changes, was needed in order to help the cash-strapped country, adding that the World Bank and UN would play a role in implementing reforms.

“If there is no audit of the central bank, in a few months there will be no more imports and then there will be lack of fuel and of food,” he said. 

16:00 GMT – France’s Macron urges independent, transparent probe into blast 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that an independent, transparent investigation into the massive explosion in Beirut is “owed to the victims and their families” by Lebanese authorities.

Angry crowds approached Macron and the Beirut governor as they walked through a blast-torn street, and through a devastated pharmacy.

After meeting with political leaders later, the French leader mentioned the “anger in the street” he had witnessed earlier.

He said: “There is a political, moral, economic and financial crisis that has lasted several months, several years. This implies strong political responsibility.”

He said he discussed addressing corruption and other needed reforms with Lebanon’s president and prime minister. 

“I came here to show the support of the French nation for the Lebanese people,” Macron said, stressing the word “people.”

French President Emmanuel Macron in Beirut

Macron promised angry protesters on Thursday that French aid will not fall in the hands of corrupt politicians [Lebanese Presidency via Anadolu]

15:30 GMT – Denmark to donate $1.9 million to Lebanon 

Denmark has pledged to donate 12 million kroner ($1.9 million) to Lebanon, chiefly to be channeled via the Red Cross, and 600 chemical protection suits.

Development Minister Rasmus Prehn said Tuesday’s explosions in Beirut come “at the worst possible time” for Lebanon. “The country’s economy and health care are already completely on their knees,” he said.

“And COVID-19 just makes the situation worse. At the same time, the country is home to 1.5 million refugees who also need support.”

So far this year, Denmark has provided 32 million kroner ($5.1 million) in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, mainly to help refugees in the Middle Eastern country.

15:15 GMT – UK PM Johnson says: We will focus on the needs of Lebanese people 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was shocked by the blast in Beirut and that Britain would continue to focus on the needs of the people of Lebanon.

“I was absolutely apalled and shocked by the scenes from Lebanon, from Beirut,” Johnson said. “I am sure that the UK will continue to focus on the needs of the people of Lebanon.” 

14:45 GMT – Italy sends second plane carrying medical equipment to Lebanon

Italy has sent 8.5 tons of medical equipment to Lebanon in a second aid flight following the massive explosion in Beirut.

The foreign ministry said the flight left from Brindisi Thursday morning following a request from Lebanese authorities.

On board were surgical and trauma kits. Earlier, a team of firefighters and experts in chemical and biological agents flew in to help.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said the Italian assistance “represents a new show of friendship and solidarity toward the Lebanese people and authorities.”

Beirut blast pushes economy to edge as many remain missing (4:37)

14:25 GMT – Jordan to build field hospital in Beirut within 24-hours

Two Jordanian Air Force military aircraft are flying to Lebanon carrying material for a field hospital that’s expected to be set up within the next 24 hours in Beirut.

The military field hospital will be staffed by 160 medics and other staff and will include 45 beds, 10 intensive care beds and 2 surgery rooms.

Beirut blast: Families desperate for news on missing relatives (3:32)

14:15 GMT – China to send medical team, supplies to Lebanon after Beirut blast 

China has announced that it will sendi a medical team and supplies to Lebanon in the aftermath of the port explosion that injured more than 5,000 people.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Thursday that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had conveyed a message of condolence to Lebanese President Michel Aoun following the blast.

“As a friendly country to Lebanon, China is willing to continue to provide assistance within its capacity for Lebanon to tide over the difficulties,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.

Beirut: Grandmother plays ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in wrecked apartment (0:55)

14:05 GMT – German embassy staff killed in Beirut blast

Germany’s foreign minister said that an employee of the German Embassy in Beirut was killed in the huge blast that devastated the Lebanese capital earlier this week.

Heiko Maas says in a statement that the woman died as a result of “the consequences of the explosion in her apartment.” He has offered his condolences to embassy staff. The embassy building was damaged in the blast.

14:00 GMT – UK to send British Royal Navy ship 

Britain is sending a Royal Navy ship to Beirut to help the city recover from Tuesday’s devastating port explosion.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace says the survey vessel HMS Enterprise, currently in Cyprus, will assess damage and help Lebanese authorities prepare to rebuild the port.

Britain has pledged a 5 million pound ($6.6 million) humanitarian support package for Lebanon and says it will send search and rescue teams and expert medical support.

12:34 GMT – French rescue team searches for potential survivors at destroyed port 

A French colonel leading a rescue team in Beirut’s port where Tuesday’s deadly explosion took place, said a group of seven or eight people might be alive but stuck under the rubble of a command centre buried by the explosion.

12:15 GMT – Angry crowds in Beirut urge Macron to help bring change

French President Emmanuel Macron toured Beirut’s shattered streets with crowds demanding the end to a “regime” of politicians they blame for corruption and dragging Lebanon into disaster.

“I see the emotion on your face, the sadness, the pain. This is why I’m here,” he told one group, shaking their hands on roads strewn with rubble and flanked by shops with windows blown out after Tuesday’s blast that killed 145 and injured 5,000.

Macron promised to send more medical and other aid to Lebanon, while those around him chanted “Revolution” and “The people want the fall of the regime.”

“But what is also needed here is political change. This explosion should be the start of a new era,” Macron said, making the tour shortly after arriving on the first visit to Lebanon by a foreign leader since the blast.

One man told Macron: “We hope this aid will go to the Lebanese people not the corrupt leaders.”

11:58 GMT – Lebanon cenbank tells banks to make cheap dollar loans to those hit by Beirut blast

Lebanon’s central bank instructed banks and financial institutions to extend exceptional dollar loans at zero interest to individuals and firms impacted by the Beirut port explosion.

Money transfer houses should distribute transfers from abroad to Lebanon in dollars, the central bank said separately.

Exceptional loans should be made regardless of customer account limits, carry no interest and be repaid over five years. It said the loans can be repaid in Lebanese pounds based on the interbank rate of 1,515 pounds to the dollar.

The central bank would in turn provide dollar loans at zero interest to the banks and financial institutions granting the exceptional loans, it said.

11:35 GMT – Macron pledges aid won’t go to ‘corrupt hands’, wants new Lebanon deal 

French President Emmanuel Macron told angry Lebanese crowds in downtown Beirut that French aid would not go to “corrupt hands” and he would seek a new deal with political authorities.

“I guarantee you this – aid will not go to corrupt hands,” Macron told protesters in central Beirut two days after the city was devastated by a blast.

“I will talk to all political forces to ask them for a new pact. I am here today to propose a new political pact to them,” he said, after being greeted by crowds calling for an end to the “regime”.

11:15 GMT – Death toll from Beirut blast reaches 157

Lebanon’s ministry of health said that the number of people killed in the blast at Beirut’s port reached 157, while 5,000 others have been injured.

Officials said the death toll was expected to rise as rescue operations at the port continue. 

10:57 GMT – Beirut blast: In a small Texas town, echoes of Lebanon’s tragedy

The shocking videos coming out of the Lebanese capital are grimly familiar to Tommy Muska as he sits thousands of miles away in the US state of Texas: a towering blast, a thundering explosion, and shock waves demolishing buildings with horrifying speed.

The mayor of West, Texas, lived through the same thing seven years ago when one of the deadliest fertiliser plant explosions in US history partly levelled his rural town. Muska has a feeling that, yet again, no lessons will be learned from this tragedy.

Read more here.

West, Texas

An aerial view of the aftermath of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas in 2013 [File: Adrees Latif/Reuters]

10:35 GMT – Druze leader Jumblatt urges international probe into Beirut port blast

Lebanon’s leading Druze politician Walid Jumblatt called for an international investigation into the Beirut port explosion and said he had “no trust” in the government to find out the truth about it.

“We have no trust at all in this ruling gang,” said Jumblatt, whose party has lawmakers in parliament but is not in the cabinet, which took office in January with backing from the Hezbollah movement and its allies.

If not for the help of foreign states and the Arab region, “Lebanon would disappear”, he said, calling for “a government of neutrality.”

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said he had “no trust” in the government to find out the truth about the blast [File: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

09:52 GMT – French President says Lebanon needs reforms or will ‘continue to sink’

French President Emmanuel Macron offered France’s support for the Lebanese people on a visit to Beirut after the port blast,  but said crisis-hit Lebanon would “continue to sink” unless its leaders carry out reforms.

Macron said France’s solidarity with the Lebanese people was unconditional, but said he wanted to tell some “home truths” to political figures.

“Beyond the blast, we know the crisis here is serious, it involves the historic responsibility of leaders in place,” Macron told reporters.

“We can’t do without telling each other some home truths,” he added. “If reforms are not carried out, Lebanon will continue to sink.”

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon August 6, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS I

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun with French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon [Dalati Nohra/Reuters]

09:47 GMT – EU Commission ready to help Lebanon with preferential trade

The European Commission is ready to help Lebanon with preferential trade and customs backing, the head of the EU executive said after a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

“The Commission stood ready to explore how to boost our trade relations in this challenging time, in particular in the form of further preferential trade and customs facilitation,” Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

She also offered the EU’s help in assessing Beirut’s reconstruction and Lebanon’s recovery, as well as support in discussions with international financial institutions to unlock further economic aid.

The 27-country bloc has deployed more than 100 firefighters, a military vessel for medical evacuation and activated its Copernicus Satellite mapping system to help assess the damage.

Plenary session of European Parliament

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen offered the EU’s help in assessing Beirut’s reconstruction and Lebanon’s recovery [File: Anadolu]

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.

Beiruit, Lebanon

An aerial view shows the massive damage done to Beirut port’s grain silos and the area around it after a mega-blast tore through the harbour in the heart of the Lebanese capital [File: AFP]

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.

Read more here.

Lebanese diaspora

Lebanese come together for a vigil held at Kensington gardens in central London to honour the victims of the Beirut blast [Tolga Akmen/AFP]

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.

07:06 GMT – One French death, 24 injured after Beirut blast

One Frenchman, architect Jean-Marc Bonfils, has died while a further 24 French people were injured in Tuesday’s massive warehouse explosion in Beirut, French government ministers have said.

Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot announced Bonfils’s death in a tweet. Junior foreign affairs minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne added that, of those injured, three had serious injuries.

06:41 GMT – France’s Macron leaves for Lebanon: presidency 

French President Emmanuel Macron left Paris for Lebanon on a first visit by a world leader to Beirut after the deadly port blast, the Elysee Palace said.    

Macron’s plane took off just before 0600 GMT and was scheduled to land in the devastated city at around 0900 GMT where the French president was to meet “all political actors” including President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Macron will seek to rally urgent aid for Lebanon but is also expected to press for overdue reform in France’s ex-colony, just two days after the blast.

EU Leaders Summit in Brussels

French President Emmanuel Macron is the first world leader to visit Beirut after the deadly port blast [File: Anadolu]

06:01 GMT – Death toll from Beirut port blast rises to 137, says ministry

Lebanon’s ministry of health said that 137 people have been killed in the blast at Beirut’s port on Tuesday, while at least 5,000 others have been injured. 

Red Cross volunteers at the scene of the explosion said they expect the death toll to rise as searches continue at the port where dozens are still missing, especially among employees who were present at the time of the blast.

05:10 GMT – At least one US citizen killed, several injured in Beirut blast

The US Embassy in Beirut has reported that at least one American citizen was confirmed killed and several more were injured in the explosion at Beirut’s port.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to their loved ones and are working to provide the affected US citizens and their families all possible consular assistance. We are working closely with local authorities to determine if any additional US citizens were affected,” the US statement said.

The embassy says all of its employees are safe and accounted for, according to the AP news agency report.

04:48 GMT – France’s FM raises concerns about Lebanon’s food security

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has raised concerns about Lebanon’s food security, after the massive Beirut blast damaged a major silo that contains the country’s grain supply.

“There will also be a food need that is indispensable because of the grain silos that exploded,” he was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Le Drian also called on the international community to show solidarity with Lebanon, which was already reeling economically even before the disaster.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to arrive in Beirut later on Thursday. 

04:23 GMT – Australia pledges $1.4m aid to Lebanon

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that his country is pledging an initial $2 million Australian dollars ($1.4m) to the relief effort and is considering more.

Morrison also told reporters on Thursday that the aid will be provided to the World Food Program and to the Red Cross for food, medical care and essential items.

04:02 GMT – More medical aid from Russia expected in Lebanon

Three Russian flights are scheduled to arrive in Beirut within the next 24 hours, carrying equipment for a coronavirus testing lab and protective gear, among other medical relief supplies for Lebanon.

Earlier, Russia flew in a mobile hospital, along with 50 emergency workers and medical personnel to help with the aftermath of the blast that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others. 

03:30 GMT – Amnesty joins call for international probe of Beirut blast

Beirut, Lebanon

A woman takes pictures inside a damaged church a day after an explosion hit the seaport of Beirut [Hussein Malla/AP]

Amnesty International has called for an international investigation into the Beirut blast, saying that the probe should be “free from any potential domestic political interference” to ensure “truth, justice, and reparations for victims.”

“The horrific scenes in the aftermath of the explosion were devastating for a country already suffering under the strain of multiple crises,” Amnesty’s acting chief Julie Verhaar said in a statement.

The group also urged the international community to urgently increase humanitarian aid to Lebanon “at a time when the country was already struggling with the severe economic crisis, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

03:00 GMT – Without giving proof, Trump repeats claim about Lebanon attack

President Donald Trump has continued to suggest that the massive explosion that killed at least 135 people in Lebanon might have been a deliberate attack, even as officials in Lebanon and his own defense chief said it’s believed to have be an accident, AP news agency reported.

“How can you say accident if somebody left some terrible explosive-type devices and things around perhaps – perhaps it was that. Perhaps it was an attack,” Trump told reporters during a White House briefing.

“I don’t think anybody can say right now. We’re looking into it very strongly right now.”

Defence Secretary Mark Esper earlier contradicted the president, saying most people believe the explosion “was an accident, as reported.”

02:45 GMT – Hariri’s party wants international investigators to join probe

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement bloc in parliament has called for the participation of international experts in the probe of the massive blast in Beirut, according to Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr.

The block said it wants a “transparent judicial investigation” into the incident that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others.

02:17 GMT – Disaster-stricken Beirut to welcome France’s Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to arrive in Beirut on Thursday and will meet the country’s leaders following the deadly blast that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others.

Macron had already spoken to Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun after the disaster, and has ordered the deployment of assistance to the country.

01:45 GMT – Rescuers continued to dig out survivors of Beirut explosion

Search and rescue workers, who are working around the clock in the Lebanese, capital, have dug out a child from under the rubble of the explosion, more than 24 hours after the incident.

A video circulating on social media showed rescuers frantically digging debris from the collapsed building as they tried to extract the survivor.

At least 135 people were killed and around 5,000 more were injured following the blast on Tuesday.

01:17 GMT – Parisians hold prayer vigil for victims of Beirut blast

Lebanese nationals living in Paris and other members of the public held a prayer vigil in the French capital to show solidarity with the victims of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

The crowd gathered on Wednesday night outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris.

Other images of the event showed people in tears as they mourn the victims of the disaster. At least 135 people were killed and around 5,000 more were injured following the blast on Tuesday afternoon. 

Lebanon - France

Lebanese nationals in Paris and other members of the public light candles during the Solidarity Stand event, held to show support for the victims of a massive explosion in Beirut [Mohammed Badra/EPA]

00:15 GMT – Germany sends aid, rescue teams to Lebanon

Germany dispatched rescue teams to help Lebanese authorities find survivors trapped beneath rubble in Beirut.

Teams from the German THW, the country’s emergency organisation, and International Search and Rescue Germany boarded a flight from Frankfurt on Wednesday evening destined for Beirut.

On board are search and rescue dogs, medical assessment teams, as well as 15 tonnes of equipment and tools, Timo Eilhard of the THW told Reuters News Agency.

Wednesday, August 5

23:11 GMT – 10 of 11 missing Filipino seafarers near Beirut blast site found safe

The Philippine Embassy in Lebanon reported that 10 of the 11 seafarers, who were initially reported missing following the massive blast in Beirut, have been found.

According to a statement from the Philippine government, the seafarers suffered minor injuries and are now being looked after their shipping company. One seafarer remains missing.

Earlier, the Philippine government reported at least two Filipino workers were killed and six others injured in the blast.

20:50 GMT – World Bank says ready to mobilise financing for Lebanon blast recovery

The World Bank Group said it stands ready to assess Lebanon’s damage and needs after a devastating Beirut port explosion and work with the country’s partners to mobilise public and private financing for reconstruction and recovery.

The World Bank said in a statement that it “would be also willing to reprogramme existing resources and explore additional financing to support rebuilding lives and livelihoods of people impacted by this disaster”. 

20:15 GMT – Support for hospitals and trauma response is a top priority: UN

The United Nations is working closely with the authorities in Lebanon to support continuing response in the aftermath of the massive explosion, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters.

“The World Health Organization is working closely with the Lebanese Ministry of Health to conduct an assessment of hospital facilities in Beirut, their functionality and needs for additional support, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic”, he said.

“Specialists are being dispatched to Beirut at the moment to assist in the emergency response, both from the United Nations and multiple Member States. Experts are en route to support urban search and rescue operations. Teams are also equipped to conduct rapid assessments about the situation on the ground and help coordinate emergency response activities.”

Protective gloves are scattered on the ground at a damaged hospital following Tuesday's blast in Beirut, Lebanon August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Protective gloves are scattered on the ground at a damaged hospital following Tuesday’s blast in Beirut, Lebanon [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

19:12 GMT – Baghdad will provide fuel aid to Beirut

An Iraqi delegation headed by the Iraqi oil minister met the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and informed him that Baghdad would provide fuel aid to Beirut, according to a statement by the Lebanese government.

Lebanese local media also said that an amount of wheat would arrive on Friday from Iraq as aid after the blast left the Lebanese capital short on wheat, according to the governor.

18:10 GMT – Explosion must be independently investigated: Amnesty International

Amnesty International called for an independent into Beirut’s deadly blast and urged the international community to increase humanitarian aid at this time.

Julie Verhaar, acting secretary-general of the UK-based rights group, said, “Whatever may have caused the explosion, including the possibility of a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely, Amnesty International is calling for an international mechanism to be promptly set up to investigate how this happened.

“Amnesty International also calls on the international community to urgently increase humanitarian aid to Lebanon at a time when the country was already struggling with the severe economic crisis, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the enormous explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For other key developments related to the Beirut explosion from yesterday, August 5, click here



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