China tasks medical team in Lebanon to provide medical aids following deadly blasts

Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut’s port area, Lebanon, August 4, 2020. /Reuters

China has tasked a team of medical experts in Lebanon to join in the rescue operations in the capital, Beirut, following Tuesday’s deadly explosions.

Following the blasts, the 18th Chinese peacekeeping medical team to Lebanon received a notice from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Command that it would deploy its medical force to provide medical aids to Beirut.

After receiving the notice, the team transferred 9 medical staffs from the fields of surgery, internal medicine, burns, anesthesiology and other fields to form the “Beirut explosion” emergency medical team. The emergency team will bring medicines, consumables, protective equipment and other materials to Beirut. At this stage, team staffs, vehicles, and materials are ready.

China’s 18th batch of medical units for peacekeeping missions to Lebanon is composed of 30 officers and soldiers. It is currently in the rotation period, and 15 of them returned to China on 28 July. According to the plan, the remaining 15 people will set off to return home on 18 August. 15 Chinese medical teams from China’s 19th batch of peacekeeping missions to Lebanon arrived in Lebanon on 28 July and are currently in isolation due to the new crown epidemic.

The twin blasts at the Port of Beirut killed at least 113 people and injured over 4,000 others, with dozens still missing.

According to Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud, at least 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes by the devastating explosions.

Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun following the blasts.

In his message, Xi said he was shocked to learn about the huge explosions in Beirut, whose effects were felt many kilometers away from the port.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name, Xi extended profound condolences to the victims, conveyed heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured, and wished the injured a quick recovery.

The cause of the blast is being investigated. But Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said the cause of the explosion was 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for six years. President Michel Aoun tweeted it was “unacceptable” the explosives had been stored unsafely. Aoun declared three days of mourning and called for a two-week state of emergency.

(With input from agencies)

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