India is sending more relief and humanitarian materials, including medicines and foodstuff, to Lebanon after a massive explosion last week devastated parts of Beirut, killing more than 160 people and injuring 6,000 others.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti offered deep condolences on behalf of the Government and people of India to Lebanon on "this terrible human tragedy".
"We are shocked by the loss of human lives and the widespread destruction this has caused in Beirut. We pray for strength to families to overcome their great loss," Tirumurti said on Monday at a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Lebanon.
Tirumurti said India just recently sent Lebanon essential medical items to combat COVID-19.
"We are immediately sending more relief and humanitarian material of medicines, foodstuff and other essential items to do whatever we can to alleviate the difficulties on the ground. We are discussing with the Government of Lebanon on how we can contribute further," he said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also paid condolences to the families and loved ones of at least 160 people who were killed, and wished a full recovery to about 6,000 others injured in the explosion on August 4, which sent shockwaves across the bustling city of Beirut, bursting? out windows and shaking buildings.
Tirumurti recalled that he had paid an official visit to the "beautiful city of Beirut" last year, and said it is difficult for him to imagine that this vibrant and bustling city has been affected by the blast. "I admire the resilience of the people and the dedication of the rescue workers to cope with this tragedy," he said.
India has had traditionally close and historical relations with Lebanon, including through Indian peacekeepers in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Tirumurti said, adding that "I would like to express our solidarity with Lebanon at this juncture."
Guterres said almost a week after the blast, many people remain missing. Buildings were damaged for miles around the city of Beirut after 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilisers, stored at the port for six years, reportedly caused the explosion.
A plane carrying 20 tonnes of World Health Organisation health supplies landed in Beirut on Wednesday to cover 1,000 trauma interventions and 1,000 surgical interventions for people suffering from injuries and burns as a result of the blast.
Further, within hours of the blast, the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon released USD 9 million from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund to address immediate needs. Last Friday, the Emergency Relief Coordinator released a further USD 6 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund.
UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said the devastating impact of last week's tragedy makes it imperative for the international community to stand beside the people of Lebanon who have generously hosted thousands of refugees for years.
"We must respond by providing the necessary humanitarian assistance to alleviate the immediate suffering and to support the Lebanese people as they embark on the road to recovery. The needs are enormous and great."
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