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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Planes around the world loaded with experts and aid began taking off for Beirut, devastated by a huge explosion that damaging almost half the city, left 300,000 homeless and thousands wounded or dead.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab appealed to the world to send assistance for the country as it gets to grips with the scale of the crisis that compounds the dire economic meltdown, growing unemployment and poverty as well as a mounting rubbish crisis.
“We are witnessing a real catastrophe,” he said on Wednesday, adding those responsible for the deadly blasts at Beirut’s port “will pay the price”.
Egypt said it has already opened a field hospital in the Lebanese capital to receive the wounded and relieve pressure on the damaged and stretched local health services.
Jordan's Royal Court said it was following suit, flying a military field hospital – including all necessary personnel – to Beirut on Wednesday to help.
Iraq said late on Tuesday night that it will dispatch a plane loaded with urgent medical aid.
A plane carrying 40 tonnes of medical equipment was due to take off from Dubai on Wednesday to help Beirut's hospitals treat thousands of wounded patients.
Two French military planes are being sent by Paris with 15 tonnes of sanitary equipment, a mobile clinic equipped to treat 500 people and experts in search and rescue to help locate victims trapped in the rubble.
They are expected to reach Beirut late afternoon with 55 civil security personnel on board, the French president's office said.
The 55 personnel are specialists in post-disaster rubble clearing and rescue and France is working to "identify additional needs" on the ground in Beirut. Paris has already vowed additional support for the government as needed.
Dozen of emergency personnel will also be sent "to reinforce hospitals in the Lebanese capital,” France said.
Russia's emergency officials are sending five planeloads of aid, as well as rescuers, medical workers a makeshift hospital and a lab for coronavirus testing.
Poland sent a team of about 50 firefighters, including 39 rescuers with 4 dogs and a chemical rescue module, on Wednesday morning.
A Greek military transport plane also headed to Lebanon with a search and rescue team with special equipment and a sniffer dog.
Authorities in Athens said they are ready to help Lebanon “with all means at its disposal", while Cyprus said it will be sending help.
The Czech Republic's Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said Lebanon has accepted an offer to send a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to Beirut.
Denmark says it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance.
Officials say the explosion resulted from the ignition of a huge depot of ammonium nitrate at Beirut's port, but many questions remain unanswered.
Updated: August 5, 2020 03:19 PM
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