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Beirut explosion: Lebanon in mourning as France's Macron visits capital

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Beirut explosion: Lebanon in mourning as France's Macron visits capital
Angry crowds chant 'the people want the fall of the regime' as French president tours Beirut
Key Points
Death toll expected to rise as workers search rubble
Macron vows that foreign aid will not go to 'corrupt hands'
Beirut mayor says Lebanon in grip of 'catastrophe'

Live Updates

Evening update
3 days ago

Umar here from MEE's US team. Here's a wrap-up of the latest updates.

  • France's Emmanuel Macron announced an international donors conference for Lebanon "in the coming days" to secure aid from the United States and Europe. He concluded his remarks by saying "I love you, Lebanon".
  • Amid the aftermath of the blast, the country's health ministry reported 255 new cases of the novel coronavirus.
  • So to not cause a repeat of the explosion in Beirut, Iraq announced it would do an inventory of all hazardous materials in its ports and airports.
  • The Lebanese ambassador to Jordan resigned, citing "total negligence" by the country's authorities.
  • Lebanese authorities have detained 16 individuals as part of an investigation into the explosion that shook the capital.

We’ll be bringing you updates on the latest developments. For the latest up to date information on the fallout from Tuesday's port blast, follow us on Twitter at @MiddleEastEye and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MiddleEastEye/.

Lebanese ambassador to Jordan resigns, citing government's 'total negligence'
3 days ago

The Lebanese ambassador to Jordan has announced her resignation following the seismic blast that ravaged Beirut, and said that "total negligence" by the country's authorities signalled the need for a leadership change.

Tracy Chamoun's resignation is the second by a Lebanese official since the explosion that killed more than 130 people, wounded at least 5,000 and destroyed entire districts of the capital.

Lebanese MP Marwan Hamade resigned on Wednesday, saying that Lebanon has an "ineffective government".

Iraq to do inventory on all hazardous materials in its ports
3 days ago

In order to "avoid any repetition of what happened in Lebanon", Iraq announced on Thursday it will create an inventory of all hazardous materials at ports and airports.

An emergency committee led by the head of Iraq's border agency said it had been tasked with carrying out the job and had given itself 72 hours to complete it. 

Iraq also said it would deliver shipments of oil and wheat to Lebanon after the blast had destroyed the port's silos, where some 15,000 tonnes of wheat were stored.

Health ministry reports record increase in confirmed coronavirus cases
3 days ago

Lebanon has witnessed a record increase in new confirmed coronavirus infections in a single day with 255 new cases reported on Thursday.

A health ministry statement said the new tally brings the total number of reported cases to 5,672 and 70 deaths.

The pandemic had deepened the country's financial woes, with lockdown orders to prevent the spread of the virus plunging the country further into economic depression.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan had warned that coronavirus cases will rise after the port blast, which left thousands homeless.

"Due to the emergency and panic, I am worried that treating the wounded in hospitals and the loss of personal protection equipment supplies may have an impact on the number of coronavirus patients in the next 10 days," Hassan said earlier on Thursday.

Macron announces donors conference for Lebanon 
3 days ago

President Emanuel Macron said there will be an international donors conference for Lebanon "in the coming days" to secure aid from the United States and Europe in order to help Lebanon deal with the aftermath of the port blast.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting the country's leaders, Macron warned, however, that the world will not hand a "blank check" to Lebanese politicians whom he said have lost their popular legitimacy.

"The money is there for Lebanon; it's just waiting for the internal reforms to be implemented," he said.

The french president concluded his remarks by saying "I love you Lebanon" [bhebak ya Lobnan] in Arabic.

Late afternoon update
3 days ago

Areeb here from MEE's London bureau. Here's the latest summary from Thursday.

- French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a new political pact in Lebanon as he told protesters that any aid that comes from France will not go to the 'corrupt'.

- Angry crowds met Macron during his tour of areas near the Beirut port, as they chanted for the fall of Lebanon's political leadership and dubbed Lebanese President Michel Aoun a "terrorist"

- Lebanon's central bank has ordered local banks to give individuals and local businesses impacted by the Beirut bomb blast cheap US dollar loans at zero interest, but those loans will be paid back over five years.

- Lebanon's health minister said he anticipated an increase in covid-19 cases following the blast. 

For the latest and up to date information on the fallout from Tuesday's port blast check Middle East Eye's website and social pages