WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump has spoken about the explosion in Beirut during calls with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump said Friday that he told Aoun that three large aircraft filled with medical supplies, food and water were on their way to provide assistance. The US leader also said emergency responders, technicians, doctors and nurses were on the way to Lebanon to help.
In a tweet, Trump said: “We will be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon, and leaders from various other parts of the world. Everyone wants to help!”
A White House statement later said that Trump had “expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Lebanon” in the phone call with Aoun, in which he “vowed to continue United States support in providing critical emergency supplies to meet health and humanitarian needs during this difficult time.”
The two leaders also discussed recovery efforts and Trump “affirmed continued United States assistance to the people of Lebanon.”
The blast at Beirut’s port killed more than 150 and devastated swaths of the city, as rescuers continue to desperately comb the rubble for survivors.
Officials have said a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years in a warehouse at the port and somehow caught fire, leading to Tuesday’s earth-shaking blast.
Lebanon’s hospitals, already strained by rising coronavirus cases and a severe economic crisis, were heavily damaged by the blast and overwhelmed by casualties.
The World Health Organization has called for $15 million to cover immediate health needs.
The United Nations said up to 100,000 children are among the 300,000 people made homeless, including many who have been separated from their families.
Relief flights from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates landed in Lebanon on Friday, following others from France, Kuwait, Qatar and Russia.