After the huge explosion in Beirut, Australia has said it will donate 2 million Australian dollars ($1.4m) to support Lebanon recover from Tuesday’s explosion.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says in a statement the money will go to the World Food Programme and the Red Cross to help ensure food, medical care and essential items are provided to those affected.
She says Australia and Lebanon have a strong relationship built on extensive community ties, and more than 230,000 Australians have Lebanese heritage.
An Australian was killed and the Australian Embassy in Lebanon was damaged in the explosion.
Lebanon has less than a month’s grain reserves, After blast
Lebanon’s main grain silo at Beirut port was destroyed in a blast, leaving the nation with less than a month’s reserves of the grain but still with enough flour to avoid a crisis, the economy minister said.
Raoul Nehme told Reuters a day after Tuesday’s devastating explosion that Lebanon needed reserves for at least three months to ensure food security and was looking at other storage areas.
“There is no bread or flour crisis,” the minister said. “We have enough inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on the long term.”
He said grain reserves in Lebanon’s remaining silos stood at “a bit less than a month” but said the destroyed silos had only held 15,000 tonnes of the grain at the time, much less than capacity which one official put at 120,000 tonnes.
Pope Francis offers prayers for Beirut victims
Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims, their families, and for Lebanon.
The pontiff appealed that “through the dedication of all the social, political and religious elements,” Lebanon “might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing.”