Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the Australian Government was “shocked and saddened” by the huge blast in Beirut, Lebanon ‘s capital, and that it would steer the country $2 million in humanitarian aid.
She confirmed the killing of one Australian in the devastating explosion. She also said that the Australian embassy was “significantly” damaged and that some workers were injured but “all [staff] were safe and accountable.”
After a huge warehouse explosion sent a destructive blast wave through the capital, killing at least 100 people and injuring nearly 4000, Lebanese rescue workers digged through the mangled rubble of buildings on Wednesday searching for survivors.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and to those worried for friends and family,” she said in a statement.
“Australia and Lebanon have a strong relationship built on extensive community ties, with more than 230,000 Australians having Lebanese heritage.”
The toll was expected to rise after the blast at port warehouses which stored highly explosive material, officials said.
The blast was the strongest ever to tear through Beirut, a city that was still scarred by the civil war three decades ago and suffering from an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections.
It sent a mushroom cloud into the sky and rattled windows on Cyprus’s Mediterranean island, about 160 km away.
Ms Payne has given her condolences to the friends and relatives of the Australian victims. She declared that Lebanon will receive financial assistance from the Government.
“In the response to this disaster, Australia will direct $2 million in humanitarian support to Lebanon to help with the recovery from the devastating explosions in Beirut,” Ms Payne said.
“The funding will consist of $1 million each to trusted aid partners, the World Food Programme and the Red Cross movement, to help to ensure food, medical care and essential items are provided to those affected by this tragedy.”
George Kettani, the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, said at over 100 people were killed and search efforts continued.