The shock is still fresh and it is profound. Well over 150 individuals lost their lives in the devastating explosion in Beirut, and at present there are estimated to be around 6000 people injured.
A member of the German Embassy also lost her life. On behalf of the German Government, Foreign Minister Maas expressed his deepest sympathy to her relatives: “Our worst fears have been confirmed. We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague.”
During a telephone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, Maas pledged to initiate emergency measures. It is clear to Heiko Maas that “in this hour of need, we are there to help. The people in Beirut need to know that we will not abandon them.”
Swift help is on the way
In a first step, Germany will provide Lebanon with 1.5 million euro in emergency assistance for first aid posts in Beirut and medical supplies to treat the injured. Last weekend, the first German Red Cross flight took off for Beirut with protective equipment, drugs and bandage material.
Around 50 members of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) have already arrived in the Lebanese capital and are searching for further survivors. Doctors and experts in hazardous goods from ISAR Germany – International Search and Rescue are also on the ground.
The Bundeswehr flew a medical reconnaissance team to Beirut. The Airbus A310 MedEvac is on stand-by. Moreover, the corvette Ludwigshafen am Rhein, which is normally part of the UNIFIL mission, is heading for Beirut to provide assistance.
The European Commission has pledged to provide Lebanon with emergency aid amounting to more than 33 million euro, which will be made available by the member states. Among other things, it is intended to be used for medical equipment. Furthermore, the EU has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism and organised numerous rescue teams.
On 9 August, representatives from more than 30 countries came together for a virtual donor conference to coordinate who would provide what assistance for people in Beirut. More than 250 million euro were raised. Foreign Minister Maas pledged a further 20 million euro from Germany and the European Commission an additional 30 million euro for emergency measures. Maas stressed ahead of the conference:
Today’s conference of Lebanon’s principal partners and supporters sends an important signal – first and foremost for those who have been directly affected by the disaster. We have already seen great solidarity and international support in the past few days.