As most of you have seen by now, there was a terrible explosion on Tuesday afternoon in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
It has been reported that at least five Dutch Embassy employees have been injured, as confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One has been seriously injured and the other four received less serious injuries.
As of now, Wednesday afternoon, at least 100 have been found dead and 4,000 are wounded, while the numbers continue to rise. BBC News reports that rescue workers are currently searching for more than a hundred people who are still missing.
Dutch aid workers and dogs to leave for Beirut tonight
Tonight, 63 Dutch aid workers are scheduled to leave for Lebanon with eight rescue dogs. The majority of the aid workers are experienced in emergency rescue, but medical personnel are also accompanying them.
“The Netherlands has special expertise to search for survivors and remains in the rubble. Which is so important now that the clock is ticking,” said Minister Kaag to the NOS Radio 1 News. According to Kaag, the Netherlands will assist the Red Cross in Lebanon “because the corona crisis also plays a role.”
Vreselijke beelden van de explosie in Beirut, een stad die mij dierbaar is. Mijn gedachten gaan uit naar collega's en hun familie, en allen die zijn getroffen.
Nederland staat klaar om Libanon bij te staan met search en rescue, en onmiddellijke steun aan het Libanese Rode Kruis.
— Sigrid Kaag (@SigridKaag) August 4, 2020
What happened in Beirut?
Yesterday’s explosion in Beirut has shaken up the port area of the city, and officials are still piecing together the exact trigger of the blast. President Michel Aoun says that the explosion was caused by ammonium nitrate, which is used mainly as an agricultural fertiliser. The warehouse that exploded had been storing 2,750 tonnes of it unsafely. Ammonium nitrate is not explosive on its own but ignites only under the right circumstances.
Video footage shows a large grey cloud rising above the city, followed by a shockwave throughout the vicinity. Destruction can be seen throughout the city.
In a brief televised speech, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says, “We are witnessing a real catastrophe.”
“The international community stands with you”
King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima shared a message of solidarity with the people of Beirut on social media:
— Koninklijk Huis (@koninklijkhuis) August 5, 2020
Prime Minister Mark Rutte also offered his sympathies on Twitter.
Our deepest sympathies are with the Lebanese people, the victims, and survivors after the horrifying disaster in #Beirut. Among them are five injured colleagues from our embassy. We will be monitoring the developments closely.
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) August 4, 2020
Our thoughts here at DutchReview go out to the people of Beirut, and we hope that all our readers who have friends and family there are safe. There’s an account dedicated to missing persons and fundraising on Instagram, check it out here.
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Feature Image: @ralphunicef/video screenshot