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Beirut blast: India sends 58 tonnes of emergency aid to Lebanon

India on Friday sent 58 tonnes of emergency humanitarian aid to Lebanon in an air force plane to assist the people affected by the explosions in Beirut on August 4.

The external affairs ministry said a separate consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical gloves and surgical gowns, is being sent to Lebanon following a spike in Covid-19 cases. This will reach Beirut in the coming days, ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

The emergency humanitarian aid was despatched on Friday morning in a C-17 heavy lift aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in response to an assessment of requirements by Lebanese authorities.

“In response to the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4, we had offered our assistance to Lebanon and sought from them an assessment of their requirement. Based on this, an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft was deployed to deliver 58 MT of emergency humanitarian aid on behalf of the government of India to Lebanon,” Srivastava said.

“The aircraft landed in Beirut a few hours back and the aid has been handed over by our ambassador to senior officials of the Lebanese armed forces, which is coordinating all the relief efforts.”

The aid sent by India includes emergency medical supplies, wheat flour, sugar, pulses, and relief materials such as blankets, dignity kits and sleeping mats, which are required by the large number of people left homeless by the explosion.

“India demonstrates solidarity with the people of Lebanon in the aftermath of the tragic explosions in Beirut. 58 MT of emergency humanitarian aid, including crucial medical and food supplies, is on its way to Beirut in IAF C17 aircraft,” external affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted.

Nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut’s port blew up on August 4, virtually wiping out the city’s commercial hub and damaging many parts of the Lebanese capital. The blasts killed more than 170 people, injured another 6,000 and left nearly 300,000 homeless.

The total damage has been estimated at $10 billion to $15 billion. A preliminary assessment by the World Bank showed some 50,000 residential units were damaged and 80 per cent of residential buildings and infrastructure were affected by the explosions.

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