Sat, 23 Jan 2021

At a UN-backed videoconference to muster aid for Lebanon following last week's Beirut blast, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the ensuing violence and chaos in the country. France would contribute €30m in aid, his office announced.

World pledges €250m for Lebanon

World donors on Sunday pledged more than 250 million euros to aid Lebanon after massive explosions devastated the capital Beirut last week.

France was to contribute 30 million euros, President Emmanuel Macron's office said.

Macron hosts international videoconference

France has already put in place special air and sea links to facilitate the transfer of more than 18 tonnes of medical equipment and 700 tonnes of food aid to the stricken Lebanese capital.

Opening Sunday's videoconference involving more than a dozen world leaders, President Emmanuel Macron told participants that the authorities in Lebanon have already recognised their responsibilities in provoking angry protests over official negligence and corruption which have been blamed for the Beirut port explosion.

"It is up to the authorities to act so that the country does not sink, and to respond to the aspirations that the Lebanese people are expressing right now, legitimately, in the streets of Beirut," Macron said.

"We must all work together to ensure that neither violence nor chaos prevail," he added. "It is the future of Lebanon that is at stake."

Eighty million euros needed immediately

The United Nations has estimated that at least 80 million euros will be needed immediately, to cover emergency expenses.

Last Tuesday's devastating explosion killed at least 158 people, injured some 6,000 and left an estimated 300,000 homeless. Three major hospitals and 120 schools suffered extensive damage.

Lebanese people enraged by the official negligence which they blame for the explosion have since taken to the streets in anti-government protests that have led to clashes with the security forces.

During the videoconference, the French president repeated his call for political and economic reforms, which he said "would allow the international community to act effectively side by side with Lebanon in the reconstruction".

Prime Minister Hassan Diab has already promised that he will call early elections.

Orginally published on RFI

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