Beirut death toll passes 135 as world pays tribute to explosion victims

  • london
  • August 5, 2020
  • Comments Off on Beirut death toll passes 135 as world pays tribute to explosion victims

Countries across the globe have held vigils and shared tributes to the 135 people killed in the Beirut explosion on Tuesday.

The death toll has risen again as rescue teams continue to search for missing people among the rubble of the Lebanese capital. More than 5,000 people were injured in the blast, while 300,000 are believed to have been made homeless.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared a day of mourning for the nation on Wednesday, with other countries also paying their respects to the victims of the explosion.

In London, people came together in Kensington Gardens, close to the Lebanese embassy, to honour victims of the blast this evening. Attendees carried flags and made speeches as they sat together wearing masks for the small ceremony, with many becoming visibly upset.

In Israel, the city hall in Tel Aviv was lit up in the colours of the Lebanese national flag as a gesture of solidarity, despite historic and ongoing tensions between the two countries. Israeli officials had previously been forced to deny their involvement in the blast just hours after it took place.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement: ‘Humanity comes before any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people following this terrible disaster.’

In Palestine, children lit candles and carried the Lebanese flag at a vigil to the dead in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. In Canada, Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante announced a vigil would take place in Dorchester Square this evening.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower’s lights were turned in solidarity with Beirut, while footballers from Paris Saint-Germain observed a minute’s silence during a friendly match with Sochaux at the Parc des Princes stadium.

Members of the Lebanese community also gathered for small vigil in front of Sacre Coeur Basilica in the French capital, and in the centre of Toulouse. French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Lebanon on Thursday to offer support to the country.

Earlier this evening, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that the UK will provide £5,000,000 of humanitarian aid to the people of Beirut, including money towards search and rescue help and expert medical support for victims.

Making the announcement, he said: ‘We are going to stand by the Lebanese people in their time of need; we are going to provide immediate response and an aid package – an assistance package – search and rescue, humanitarian assistance up to £5,000,000 as well as expert medical support.

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‘What’s crucial at this time is that our support is tailored to the very specific needs that I’ve just talked through with the Lebanese Prime Minister.’

The British Red Cross is also among many global charities to launch an emergency appeal for people to support the relief effort.

Those wishing to donate to Beirut can do so via these links here.

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