Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near Parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by last week’s devastating explosion.
International leaders joined a virtual donor conference led by France and the United Nations in the aftermath of the devastating explosion at the Beirut port, pledging nearly $300m in humanitarian assistance that will be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population”.
- US President Donald Trump has announced that the US will give “substantial” aid to Lebanon, although he did not specify how much.
The International Monetary Fund said it is willing to redouble efforts to help Lebanon after the devastating blast that hit Beirut, but said all of the country’s institutions needed to show willingness to carry out reforms.
- Lebanon’s Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced her resignation, saying Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government failed to live up to the aspirations of the people. Shortly after, Environment Minister Damianos Kattar also resigned from his post.
- At least 158 people were killed in Tuesday’s explosion and more than 6,000 others were injured.
Here are the latest updates:
Monday, August 10
04:20 GMT – Nine Lebanese MPs, two ministers resign from government
Nine members of parliament and two ministers have so far resigned from their position in Lebanon, according to an Al Jazeera tally.
Manal Abdel Samad, the information minister, and Damianos Kattar, the environment minister resigned from their post on Sunday, as the government comes under heavy pressure following the deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday.
Manal Abdel Samad, information
Damianos Kattar, Environment
— Saad (@SaadAbedine) August 9, 2020
04:04 GMT – Beirut blast creates 43-metre deep crater
The huge explosions that hit Lebanon’s capital Beirut last Tuesday and claimed 158 lives left a 43-meter deep crater at the site, according to local reports.
The explosions occurred at Beirut’s port also injured over 6,000 people, destroyed a large granary and devastated around half of the buildings in the city. The huge crater lies near the destroyed granary, filled with sea water.
02:15 GMT – Trump vows ‘substantial’ aid to Lebanon
US President Donald Trump has pledged that his administration will give “substantial” aid to Lebanon, although he did not provide details.
“On a humanitarian basis, we have to do it. We have to do it. It’s you know, you can almost say how does a country survive such a tragedy? This was at a level that people over there, they said, is at a level that we’ve never seen before.”
An emergency donor conference on Sunday raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief.
02:05 GMT – Beirut governor says many bodies still unidentified from port blast
Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud has said several foreign workers and truck drivers remain missing following the massive blast and are assumed to be dead.
In an interview with Al Jadeed TV station, Abboud added that many of the fatalities from the blast are still unidentified, and that it could take time to complete the identification of the remains.
According to reports, an estimated 45 of the more than 158 people confirmed killed in the blast were Syrian nationals, working in the service sector in the country.
Sunday, August 9
20:37 GMT – IMF chief renews call for reforms
Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund, warned Lebanon again it would not get any loans from the institution unless it reformed its government.
“Current and future generations of Lebanese must not be saddled with more debts than they can ever repay,” she said during the pledging conference.
That is why she said the IMF requires “debt sustainability as a condition for lending”, adding that “the financial system must be solvent,” too.
19:32 GMT – Environment minister steps down
Environment Minister Damianos Kattar said in a statement that he was stepping down, becoming the second minister to quit over the explosion.
“In light of the enormous catastrophe … I have decided to hand in my resignation from government,” Kattar said, adding he had lost hope in a “sterile regime that botched several opportunities”.
19:21 GMT – Will explosion cause a humanitarian disaster?
Lebanon was in a dire state even before the enormous explosion which wrecked much of Beirut.
The government is bankrupt, the currency is almost worthless and millions of Lebanese are jobless. The explosion made things worse by destroying the main port for a nation heavily reliant on food imports.
Some 300,000 people made homeless in Beirut have received little help from the government. Lebanon is also home to 1.5 million Syrian refugees.
How will aid organisations deal with the challenge?
Find out more here or watch Inside Story below.
18:14 GM – Aid summit raises $300m to be given ‘directly’ to people
A host of nations have pledged nearly $300m in humanitarian assistance to Lebanon at a conference aimed at rallying international support for the crisis-hit country.
The sums will be routed through the UN, international organisations and NGOs, rather than the Lebanese government – in line with the demands of large swaths of the Lebanese public who fear the funds would be lost to corruption.
Read more here.
16:07 GMT – Demonstrators hurl stones at police in second day of protests
Protesters hurled rocks at security forces blocking a road near Lebanon’s parliament in a second day of protests against the government.
Reuters News Agency reported that hundreds were converging on a main square where thousands of Lebanese protested on Saturday against a political elite they blame for the country’s economic and political woes.
“We want to destroy and kill the government. They gave us no jobs nor rights,” said Nissan Ghrawi, a 19-year old unemployed demonstrator.
On Saturday, more than 700 protesters were wounded in clashes with riot police who used tear gas and live bullets in a bid to disperse crowds.