Beirut explosion: Italy pledges global ‘response’ to help Lebanon

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Italy’s foreign minister on Thursday pledged an “international response” to help Lebanon following a deadly blast that killed at least 149 people and injured thousands.

Italy has already sent specialists, firefighters, and over eight tonnes of humanitarian aid to Beirut, where a stockpile of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse sparked a massive blast on Tuesday.

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“There will certainly be an international response and I am happy that countries like France are at the forefront in helping Lebanon,” Luigi Di Maio told AFP in an interview.

He referred to Thursday’s announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron of a global aid conference for Lebanon in coming days.

Lebanon was already undergoing a devastating economic crisis roiled by political turmoil and rising coronavirus cases when the disaster occurred.

“From our point of view, helping a friendly country like Lebanon also means curtailing instability that risks having effects on migration,” said Di Maio.

Italy’s humanitarian flight to Beirut, previously announced by the foreign ministry, carried medical equipment such as surgical and trauma kits.

On Wednesday, Italy sent experts in several fields as well as firefighters and soldiers specialized in structural damage.

The death toll from the disaster is expected to rise as rescue workers continue to dig through the city’s rubble.

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