Planes carrying tons of medicine, shelter kits and food items have landed in Lebanon following the massive explosion that devastated its capital.
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At least 149 people have died and more than 5,000 were injured in Tuesday’s explosion of a huge pile of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless.
Two planes left Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport early on Friday morning carrying more than 120 tons of medicine, healthcare equipment, emergency supplies, tents, shelter kits and food items for people in Beirut. The cargo was accompanied by a specialist KSRelief team to follow up and supervise the distribution operation.
The relief air bridge is the result of a directive from King Salman to provide urgent medical and humanitarian assistance through KSRelief to help the Lebanese overcome the profound impact of the port explosion.
Dr. Samer Al-Jetaily, investments and resources director at KSRelief, said the campaign to help the Lebanese on the road to recovery had begun.
“This cargo that you are seeing over here is an air bridge that will continue for three to four days and this campaign will concentrate on three sectors,” he told Arab News.
The first area for focus is the health sector, helping people hurt by the explosion. The second area is food, helping people in need and those who have lost their homes. The third area of activity is chartering.
“Parallel to this there will be a rapid assessment on the ground from a team accompanying this cargo and, according to that, there will be a meticulous plan to help the people that were affected by this sad and tragic event,” he added.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Waleed Bukhairi, and Lebanon’s Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi were at the airport to receive the aid.
“Relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are longstanding,” Fahmi told Arab News, adding that there were also close ties between the people of the two countries.
“We feel as if we are one nation in two countries. Saudi Arabia and King Salman have not neglected Lebanon for a single day. We are devastated by this incident and disaster in Beirut. However, we are very optimistic of what will happen in the future,” he said.
Lebanon’s former justice minister, Achrif Reefi, was also appreciative about bilateral relations.
“Speaking on behalf of the Lebanese people, to our fellow Saudis, King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Saudi government, thank you for all your support to take care of our children and our current concerns,” he told Arab News.
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