Beirut explosion: Donors pledge aid for Lebanon but want reform

World leaders promise an aid package after the huge Beirut blast, as clashes again erupt in the city.

Beirut explosion: Donors pledge aid for Lebanon but want reform

Clashes broke out in Beirut for a second day running

Image copyrightEPA


International donors have pledged a quarter of a billion euros in aid for Lebanon five days after the explosion which devastated a swathe of Beirut.

But an online donor summit arranged by France called at the same time for reforms to be made.

The blast at a warehouse holding over 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has focused local outrage on perceived government corruption and incompetence.

Clashes have broken out for a second day running in Beirut.

Young people calling for the government to quit threw projectiles at police and shops in central Beirut, and protesters attempted to storm barricades barring access to the parliament building. A fire broke out at the scene. 

Police in riot gear used tear gas as darkness fell, echoing similar scenes during protests on Saturday.

Fifteen government leaders at the donor summit, spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, promised "major resources", according to a statement.

"Assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people," it said, adding that help must be "directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency".

The donors were prepared to help Lebanon's longer term recovery if the government listened to the changes demanded by the country's citizens, the communique said.

President Macron's office said France had received pledges worth €252.7m ($297m, £227m) from the summit.

Officials estimate the explosion caused up to $15 billion (£11.5bn) of damage.

It left at least 158 people dead, 6,000 injured and 300,000 homeless. It emerged that the ammonium nitrate had been left at the port warehouse for six years despite repeated warnings it was dangerous.

Lebanon is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, with daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water and limited public healthcare.

The currency collapsed and Lebanon defaulted on its debt in March. Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $10bn bailout have stalled.

It is feared that the effect of the explosion on the economy could significantly worsen the prospects of recovery.

 

The government has begun losing ministers critical of its failings.

Environment Minister Damianos Kattar was the second to leave the cabinet on Sunday, bemoaning a "sterile regime that botched several opportunities".

His resignation followed that of Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad, who cited the failure to reform and the "Beirut catastrophe" as her reasons for going.

Who pledged what?

Among promises made during the summit were:

  • European Union - extra €30m ($35m, £27m), on top of €33m promised earlier
  • UK - additional £20m; £5m aid package announced earlier this week
  • Germany - €10m; €1.5m earlier
  • France - reconstruction material, medical and food aid
  • Spain - to send wheat, shelters, medical supplies
  • Switzerland - $4.38m
  • US - $15m so far
  • Qatar - $50m
  • Kuwait - $40m
  • Denmark - €20m
  • Norway - €6.5m

The United Nations has said more than $100m (£76m) is needed for both emergency humanitarian aid, such as food and water, and the rebuilding of infrastructure, including hospitals and schools.

The summit took place online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

President Macron, speaking from his summer residence in southern France, called for "an impartial, credible and independent inquiry" into how the disaster was allowed to happen.

France is the former colonial power, and Mr Macron was the first world leader to visit Beirut in the days after the blast.

But Lebanese President Michel Aoun has already ruled out an international investigation.

Alluding to Saturday's protests, the French president said it was up to the government "to respond to the aspirations that the Lebanese people are expressing right now, legitimately, in the streets of Beirut".

But he added that neither violence nor chaos should prevail, adding: "Lebanon's future is at stake."

President Trump also joined the summit and echoed calls for a transparent investigation, saying the US would be able to assist, according to a White House statement.

"The president called for calm in Lebanon and acknowledged the legitimate calls of peaceful protesters for transparency, reform, and accountability," the statement said. BBC

 
 

Other News

.
Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese citizens flown home from abroad: spokeswoman
Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese citizens flown home from abroad: spokeswoman
POLITICSicon  10/12/2021 

Vietnamese authorities and representative agencies abroad have worked closely with domestic and foreign airlines to conduct over 800 flights carrying home nearly 200,000 Vietnamese citizens from over 60 countries and territories.

Lawmakers agree to issue Resolution on policies, mechanisms for COVID-19 fight
Lawmakers agree to issue Resolution on policies, mechanisms for COVID-19 fight
POLITICSicon  09/12/2021 

The National Assembly Standing Committee offered opinions on the adoption of health care policies and mechanisms in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic during a meeting in Hanoi on December 8.

Automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded due to COVID-19
Automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded due to COVID-19
POLITICSicon  09/12/2021 

The Department of Immigration has issued a notice on automatic extension of stay for foreigners stranded due to COVID-19.

Sovereignty over cyberspace an important part of national sovereignty: official
Sovereignty over cyberspace an important part of national sovereignty: official
POLITICSicon  09/12/2021 

Ensuring sovereignty in cyberspace helps to protect national sovereignty, said head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Information and Education Nguyen Trong Nghia.

Vietnam urges enhanced awareness, enforcement of UNCLOS
Vietnam urges enhanced awareness, enforcement of UNCLOS
POLITICSicon  09/12/2021 

Vietnam called for promoting the awareness and enforcement of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) while attending a plenary meeting at the UN General Assembly’s 76th session on December 7.

Vietnam, New Zealand sign action programme to promote strategic partnership
Vietnam, New Zealand sign action programme to promote strategic partnership
POLITICSicon  09/12/2021 

Vietnam and New Zealand on December 8 signed the Vietnam - New Zealand Action Program for the 2021-2024 period through an online platform, with a view to carrying out the strategic partnership between the two nations.

Urgent issues expected to be submitted to NA’s extraordinary session
Urgent issues expected to be submitted to NA’s extraordinary session
POLITICSicon  08/12/2021 

The 15th National Assembly (NA) will consider a range of important issues that will be submitted to the legislature by the Government for consideration and decision at the next extraordinary meeting scheduled to take place in the coming time.

Party Chief highlights traditional friendship with Laos
Party Chief highlights traditional friendship with Laos
POLITICSicon  08/12/2021 

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong met Chairman of the Lao National Assembly Xaysomphone Phomvihane in Hanoi on Tuesday.

WHO hails Vietnam’s willingness to share technologies in COVID-19 fight
WHO hails Vietnam’s willingness to share technologies in COVID-19 fight
POLITICSicon  08/12/2021 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highly valued Vietnam’s innovation spirit and willingness to share COVID-19 prevention and control technologies.

Vietnam's top leaders welcome Lao National Assembly President
Vietnam's top leaders welcome Lao National Assembly President
POLITICSicon  07/12/2021 

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of prioritising and developing special solidarity with Laos while receiving President of the Lao National Assembly Saysomphone Phomvihane in Hanoi on Monday.

NA Chairman: fiscal policy plays leading role in harmonization with monetary policy
NA Chairman: fiscal policy plays leading role in harmonization with monetary policy
FEATUREicon  07/12/2021 

National Assembly Chair Vuong Dinh Hue has asked commercial banks to share difficulties with businesses, stressing that such support will also help themselves and that banks cannot have profits without businesses.

Government urged to launch economic stimulus package
Government urged to launch economic stimulus package
FEATUREicon  06/12/2021 

National Assembly deputies have recommended that the Government design an economic stimulus package, but both the Government and the National Assembly have yet to discuss the topic.

Why has Da Nang taken the lead in digital transformation?
Why has Da Nang taken the lead in digital transformation?
FEATUREicon  06/12/2021 

Since 2010, Da Nang has identified information and communication technology as one of the three strategic breakthroughs in socio-economic development.

No one must be left without food or clothes after floods: PM
No one must be left without food or clothes after floods: PM
POLITICSicon  05/12/2021 

Efforts must be exerted so nobody is left without food, clothes or shelter after the recent floods, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered on December 5.

Vietnamese President's Russia visit impressive: Russian legislator
Vietnamese President's Russia visit impressive: Russian legislator
POLITICSicon  05/12/2021 

Andrey Vladimirovich Yatskin, First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation (upper house) of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. said that the Vietnam-Russia relationship is experiencing a period of strong growth.

President's visits to Switzerland, Russia produce fruitful outcomes: Deputy FM
President's visits to Switzerland, Russia produce fruitful outcomes: Deputy FM
POLITICSicon  04/12/2021 

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc's visits to Switzerland and Russia were a success with specific outcomes, Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung said in an interview granted to the press following the visits.

NA Chairman chairs meeting on special policies in COVID-19 fight
NA Chairman chairs meeting on special policies in COVID-19 fight
POLITICSicon  04/12/2021 

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue chaired a meeting on December 3 to discuss the Government’s proposal on several special mechanisms and policies in the fight against COVID-19.

State leader concludes Russian visit with great success
State leader concludes Russian visit with great success
POLITICSicon  03/12/2021 

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrived in Hanoi on December 3, concluding his official visit to Russia at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

PM asks for safely, flexibly adapting to COVID-19
PM asks for safely, flexibly adapting to COVID-19
POLITICSicon  03/12/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has requested consistently pursuing the policy of safely, flexibly adapting to and effectively controlling COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam approves ASEAN agreements aiming at facilitating traveling among member states
Vietnam approves ASEAN agreements aiming at facilitating traveling among member states
POLITICSicon  03/12/2021 

The Government has just issued Resolution 150/NQ-CP approving the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Cross-border Transport of Passengers by Road Vehicles (CBTP).

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN