Beirut explosion: Condolences and aid pour in for Lebanon after deadly blast

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A pair of explosions, the second much bigger than the first, struck the city of Beirut early Tuesday evening, killing 135 people, wounding more than 4,000 and causing widespread damage.

One Australian and a Greek national are among those who died, Greek and Australian diplomatic sources have confirmed.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, said the explosion also damaged the Australian embassy but all personnel were “safe and accounted for.”

On Wednesday, despite a huge search operation, dozens were still missing in the city, the capital of Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, declared three days of mourning from today.

Satellite image shows an overview of the port after the explosion in Beirut that has killed over 113 people and wounded thousands. Picture: AFP Photo / Satellite image / Maxar Technologies.

As authorities piece together what happened, here is the latest on the condolences and aid which is pouring in from Australia and Greece.

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios: “The Greeks of Australia sympathise with the people of Lebanon

In a message released today, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios sent his condolences to the people of Lebanon after the “untold tragedy” that took place in Beirut. He expressed his sympathy to the Patriarchate of Antioch, as well as to the Lebanese community of Australia.

His full message reads:

“I was saddened to learn of the untold tragedy that took place in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The images we saw through the media, as well as the news of the loss of dozens of human lives, have deeply shocked the hearts of all of us, of my minority, of the Bishops, of the Clergy and of the entire crew of our Holy Archdiocese.

In these shocking moments that the people of Lebanon are experiencing, I would like to emphasise that the Greeks of Australia sympathise with them and returns fervent prayers to God for the speedy healing of the wounds caused by the tragedy and for the prevention of any further danger to the country.

Our thoughts and prayers are found, in particular, on the relatives and friends of the lost, on those who are being treated and on their families. We pray for the rest of the souls of the victims and for the speedy and complete recovery of the wounded. I would also like to express the sympathy and support of our local Church to the Patriarchate of Antioch, personally to His Blessed Patriarch John and to all our brothers who are being tested.

Finally, I feel the need to express our sincere condolences to our fellow citizens, members of the Lebanese Parish of Australia, who with heartache and great anguish are watching what is happening in their homeland. I have to assure them that in these difficult times the Greek Parish participates wholeheartedly in their heavy mourning.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis: “I send my heartfelt condolences”

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou: “Words cannot express our sorrow and pain”

Australia pledges $2 million in aid to Beirut recovery effort:

The Morrison government has pledged $2 million to the humanitarian and recovery effort in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, said in a statement late on Wednesday that $1 million from the aid budget would be directed to each of the World Food Program and the Red Cross movement, “to help to ensure food, medical care and essential items are provided to those affected by this tragedy.”

Greece sends fully-equipped Greek Fire Brigade search and rescue team to Beirut:

A fully-equipped Greek Fire Brigade search and rescue team departed for Lebanon on Wednesday morning in a C-130 military cargo aircraft, at the orders of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The team will take part in the rescue operations to find survivors.

The mission was dispatched rapidly, with Greece responding immediately to the Lebanese government’s plea for assistance via the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

The Greek team is made up of twelve rescue workers and a dog, along with two vehicles and special equipment for use in search and rescue operations.

The Greek General Secretariat for Civil Protection is in constant contact with Lebanese authorities and the European Civil Protection Mechanism to dispatch further assistance and support if needed.

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