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Macron in Beirut

France leads international push for Beirut reconstruction after fatal blast

Agosti 6, 2020: bandari ya Beirut iliharibiwa na milipuko ya Agosti 4.
Agosti 6, 2020: bandari ya Beirut iliharibiwa na milipuko ya Agosti 4. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah
Text by: Arnab Béranger with RFI
3 min

As international aid poured in after the deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to the Lebanese capital, is expected to push for urgent support and widespread reconstruction in the country.

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President Emmanuel Macron was the first world leader to visit Beirut following the tragic explosion on Tuesday that killed at least 130 and left 5,000 people injured.

Macron will be met on Thursday by his counterpart Michel Aoun, and the Prime Minister, Hassan Diab.

FranceInfo reported that at least one French citizen was killed and more than 20 injured in the blast, three of them in a serious condition.

On Wednesday, a Paris court opened a legal inquiry into the blast for causing 'unintentional injuries' which will be handled by a special division of the gendarmerie.

The Mar Mikhael neighbouhood in Beyrouth, a day after the deadly blast on 4 August 2020
The Mar Mikhael neighbouhood in Beyrouth, a day after the deadly blast on 4 August 2020 AFP/Patrick Baz

Aid, reconstruction and reform for Lebanon

France has already sent three military aircraft to Lebanon, with 55 emergency workers and six tons of material.

During his visit, Macron will seek to rally urgent aid for Lebanon but is also expected to press for overdue reform in France's ex-colony.

The Elysée palace said in a statement that this was the opportunity to "lay down the foundations for a pact for the reconstruction of Lebanon" that would "open up a long-term perspective".

"France is at the side of Lebanon. Always," Macron tweeted in Arabic on Tuesday.

International support pours in

The world rallied round Beirut on Wednesday, sending supplies and personnel for rescue operations.

Qatar and Kuwait sent mobile hospitals, collapsible beds, generators, burn sheets and medical supplies for the 4,000+ people who were being treated for injuries.

Cyprus, 240 kilometres away where the blast was felt, along with other EU nations Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Poland, offered an array of assistance including helicopters, doctors, police, firefighters, rescue experts and sniffer dogs.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran stood "ready to offer medical and medicinal aid and help".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered Washington's assistance and stressed the USA’s ‘solidarity … and support for the Lebanese people’.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of condolence to the president of Lebanon, saying she was ‘deeply saddened’ by the blast.

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