President Emmanuel Macron said on arrival in Beirut on Thursday that he wants to organize unconditional international aid for the hard-hit country.
The French leader said he would like to organize European aid, but also international aid on a larger scale. Macron arrives in the heavily damaged Lebanese capital after the devastating explosion in the port of stored ammonium nitrate.
The chemical is in fertilizer but is also used as a raw material for explosives in mining and in homemade bombs.
Macron was welcomed by his Lebanese colleague Michel Aoun. Macron spoke of complete relief, but also warned that the country must finally implement necessary reforms “otherwise it will continue to collapse”. Lebanon is in political stalemate and bankrupt.
Before the explosion, it was already suffering from shortages and massive protests. Many Lebanese hold the generally wealthy and often rival elites in the country responsible for years of mismanagement that has ruined the country.
The explosion destroyed nearby port facilities, a cruise ship, many vehicles and numerous properties. At least 137 people were killed and thousands injured.
Tens are still missing and specialized rescue workers, including those from the Netherlands, are looking for them in the rubble. Hundreds of thousands have become homeless. The damage amounts to many billions of euros.