Tag Archives: Lebanon

Beirut explosions: Protest full Lebanon foreign ministry. [Photos]

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Lebanese protesters stormed the foreign ministry in Beirut on Saturday as anger exploded over a deadly blast that made hundreds of thousands homeless and shocked the world.

Thousands of demonstrators, some of them brandishing nooses, had descended on the city centre to vent their fury at politicians they blame for Tuesday’s explosion, which levelled Beirut port and killed 158 people.

As security forces fired tear gas to disperse strone-throwing demonstrators, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he would seek early elections, saying it was the only way to “exit the country’s structural crisis”.

Demonstrators marched through streets ravaged by the blast, gathering in the central Martyrs’ Square, where a truck was on fire.

The police said an officer had fallen to his death after an “assault” by “a number of murderous rioters” during the protests.

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“A member of the Internal Security Forces died while…. helping people trapped inside the Le Gray hotel” in downtown Beirut, the police force said on Twitter, without providing additional details.

That came after a group led by retired Lebanese army officers stormed the foreign ministry and declared it the “headquarters of the revolution”.

“We are taking over the foreign ministry as a seat of the revolution,” Sami Rammah, a retired officer, announced by loudspeaker from the ministry’s front steps.

A Lebanese protester waves the national flag during clashes with security forces in downtown Beirut on August 8, 2020, following a demonstration against a political leadership they blame for a monster explosion that killed more than 150 people and disfigured the capital Beirut. JOSEPH EID / AFP

“We call on all the anguished Lebanese people to take to the streets to demand the prosecution of all the corrupt,” he said, appealing to the international community to boycott the government.

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In an apparently coordinated strategy, others stormed the headquarters of the country’s banking association, a focal point of anger during recent mass protests over corruption and Lebanon’s collapsing economy.

They were later chased out by security forces who entered via a back door and doused the fire.

A group also briefly entered the economy ministry, scattering piles of documents in the street.

The Lebanese Red Cross said it had taken 63 people from the protest to nearby hospitals and treated another 175 at the scene, without specifying who they were.

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As rescuers made last-ditch attempts to find survivors amid the rubble, efforts were afoot to drum up international support for the disaster-hit country ahead of a virtual aid conference on Sunday.

Lebanese protesters destroy the interior of the headquarters of the Lebanese association of banks in downtown Beirut on August 8, 2020, following a demonstration against a political leadership they blame for a monster explosion that killed more than 150 people and disfigured the capital Beirut. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

A fire at the port on Tuesday ignited a stock of ammonium nitrate, triggering an explosion that was felt as far away as Cyprus, and destroyed entire neighbourhoods and wounded at least 6,000.

It was widely perceived as a direct consequence of corruption and incompetence, perhaps the most egregious case of callousness on the part of Lebanon’s long-reviled elite.

‘Criminals’
“You were corrupt, now you are criminals,” read one banner at the demonstration, while protesters chanted: “Revenge, until this regime reaches an end.”

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Rita, whose home was gutted by the blast, said: “They have robbed us of everything. We have nothing left: no dreams, no future… no dignity, no money, and now, no houses.”

“We should not be forced to live this way,” added the 33-year-old protester.

The health ministry said 158 people were confirmed to have died in the disaster, while 21 were still missing.

The Netherlands announced that its ambassador’s wife was among the dead.

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The blast has prompted an impressive aid response from both inside and outside Lebanon, but demonstrators’ chants and the mock gallows they set up in the street made it clear that people want heads to roll.

But some of Lebanon’s leaders seemed to consider the outpouring of international solidarity as an opportunity to break the government’s diplomatic isolation.

A Palestinian girls carries the national flag and the Lebanese flag during a candle light vigil in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on August 5, 2020, in support of Lebanon a day after a blast in a warehouse in the port of the Lebanese capital sowed devastation across entire city neighbourhoods. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Foreign support
Lebanon defaulted on its debt for the first time ever this year and the current leadership has so far failed to address the economic emergency and agree on the reforms needed to negotiate an international rescue package, despite intense Western pressure.

Speaking on Friday evening, Aoun said “the explosion has led to the lifting of the isolation”.

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Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, said the disaster had created “an opportunity” to get the world to work with Lebanon again.

Three senior diplomats were in Beirut Saturday in a show of solidarity with the disaster-hit city, where 300,000 people were made temporarily homeless by the port explosion.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit met top officials ahead of expected visits by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

High-stakes probe
So far 21 people have been detained over the blast, including Badri Daher, director-general of Lebanon’s customs authority.

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But Aoun has rejected calls backed by Macron for an international, independent investigation into the blast.

Five lawmakers have quit since the blast.

Few Lebanese seemed to have any trust that the leadership would incriminate its own in an investigation chaired by senior officials.

A man holds a sign reading “Solidarity with Beyrouth” and a candle on August 5, 2020, in Toulouse, during a gathering to pay tribute to the Lebanese people a day after a powerful explosion tore through Lebanon’s capital, resulting from the ignition of a huge depot of ammonium nitrate at the city’s main port. (Photo by REMY GABALDA / AFP)

Analyst Nasser Yassin of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, said Lebanon’s reviled leaders were clearly seeking to take advantage of the situation.

“The fear is that the authorities will benefit from this great disaster and from the international and Arab attention they are getting,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Dutch ambassador’s wife loses to death

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The wife of Dutch ambassador to Lebanon Jan Waltmans has died of wounds sustained in the Beirut bomb explosion, the Netherlands’ foreign ministry said Saturday.

“It is with dismay and great sadness that we report the death of our colleague Hedwig Waltmans-Molier. She succumbed to injuries sustained in the massive explosion in Beirut,” a ministry statement said.

Waltmans-Molier was hit by debris from the explosion shortly after returning back to Lebanon from holiday with her husband of 38 years.

“Hedwig was standing in her living room next to her husband when she was hit, sheerly by bad lack, by the explosion,” the ministry said.

The 55-year-old was the only Dutch citizen reported to have died from the explosion that rocket Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 154 and devastating swathes of the capital.

Five other Dutch citizens were slightly injured, the ministry said.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Lebanon leader reject Macron’s call for global probe

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Lebanon’s president has rejected any international probe into the catastrophic Beirut port blast, saying a missile or negligence could have been responsible as rescuers desperately combed the rubble for survivors.

The entrenched ruling class has come under fire once again since Tuesday’s explosion, which killed at least 154 people and devastated swathes of the capital.

The revelation that a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years in a warehouse in the heart of the capital served as shocking proof to many Lebanese of the rot at the core of their political system.

Even Lebanese President Michel Aoun admitted Friday that the “paralysed” system needed to be “reconsidered”.

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He pledged “swift justice”, but rejected widespread calls for an international probe, telling a reporter he saw it as an attempt to “dilute the truth”.

“There are two possible scenarios for what happened: it was either negligence or foreign interference through a missile or bomb,” he said, the first time a top Lebanese official raised the possibility that the port had been attacked.

What ignited the massive shipment of the chemical remains unclear — officials have said work had recently begun on repairs to the warehouse, while others suspected fireworks stored either in the same place or nearby.

Near the site of the explosion, by the carcass of the port’s giant grain silos, rescue teams from France, Russia, Germany, Italy and other countries coordinated their search efforts.

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The World Food Programme has promised food for affected families and wheat imports to replace lost stocks from the silos, and US President Donald Trump said he would join other leaders in a conference call Sunday to discuss coordinating international aid.

Four bodies were uncovered near the port’s control room Friday, where a significant number of people were expected to have been working at the time of the blast.

No one has been found alive.

“I am waiting to hear that you have been rescued alive, my dear,” tweeted Emilie Hasrouty, whose brother is among the missing.

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“I am paralysed with fear.”

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun (C) wears a protective face mask as he visits the site of a massive explosion the previous day in the heart of the Lebanese Beirut on August 5, 2020. (Photo by – / DALATI AND NOHRA / AFP)

100,000 children homeless
At the port, reduced to an enormous scrapyard, excavators removed mangled shipping containers to clear a path for rescuers.

Civil defence teams anxiously watched a sniffer dog pace around a gap under a fallen crane.

Beirut has received a stream of international assistance since the blast.

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On Friday, relief flights from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates landed in Lebanon, following others from France, Kuwait, Qatar and Russia.

International police agency Interpol has said it will send a team of experts who are specialised in identifying victims.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, called for $15 million to cover immediate health needs.

Lebanon’s hospitals, already strained by rising coronavirus cases and a severe economic crisis, were heavily damaged by the blast and overwhelmed by casualties.

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Two days after the explosion, Lebanese were flocking to a 20-tent Russian field hospital newly established in the capital’s largest sports stadium.

The United Nations said up to 100,000 children are among the 300,000 people made homeless, including many who have been separated from their families.

‘We have nothing’
With destruction from the blast engulfing half of the capital and estimated to cost more than $3 billion, world leaders, advocacy groups and Lebanese have demanded an international probe to ensure impartiality.

But Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement said Friday the army should lead such a probe because it was “trusted” by all.

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Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah denied accusations the Shiite party had been storing arms at the port, saying: “We have nothing in the port.”

Lebanon’s probe has so far led to 21 arrests, including the port’s general manager Hassan Koraytem, other customs officials and port engineers, a judicial source told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

Dozens more were being interrogated by Lebanon’s military court, which is focusing on administrative and security officials at the port as well as government authorities who may have ignored warnings about explosive materials.

“The list of arrests will reach the top guys, who are now among the suspects,” the source said.

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Lebanon’s central bank also ordered asset freezes for seven port and customs officials, an official and a banking source told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

The measures did not dampen the anger in Beirut’s streets, where dozens of demonstrators scuffled with security forces firing tear gas late Thursday.

And volunteers clearing debris have chased out two government ministers who tried to visit devastated neighbourhoods with furious chants of “resign”.

An anti-government protest is planned for Saturday afternoon under the slogan, “Hang them by the gallows”.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Thousands of protesters hit Lebanon streets. [Photos]

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The estimated number of people wounded in the monster explosion at Beirut’s port has shot up to 6,000, the health ministry said Saturday in a statement.

The death toll rose to 158 and the number of missing dropped to 21 from 60 in the latest ministry figures.

The authorities had previously put the number of people wounded in Tuesday’s blast at 5,000, stressing that at least 120 of them were considered to be in critical condition.

Thousands protest

Several thousand protesters gathered in central Beirut on Saturday to vent their anger at a political elite they blame for a deadly explosion that turned the city into a disaster zone.

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The large crowd of demonstrators, some of them brandishing nooses, called for revenge as a large deployment of security forces tried to contain some groups seeking to advance towards parliament.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: President Buhari of Nigeria sympathizes with Lebanon

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathized with people of Lebanon following the explosions that rocked the country’s capital city, Beirut on Tuesday.

While condoling with President Michel Aoun over the incident, President Buhari described it as as “tragedy of monumental proportions.”

A statement by Presidential aide, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as pledging Nigeria’s solidarity to Lebanon at this period of travail.

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“The President also extended the sympathy of government to the large community of Lebanese in Nigeria, praying that God will rest the souls of the dead, comfort the grieving, and grant succour to the wounded and displaced,” the statement read.

“Describing the explosions, suspected to be caused by tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse, as “tragedy of monumental proportions,” President Buhari pledged the solidarity and brotherhood of Nigeria to Lebanon at this period of travails.”

File photo of president Muhammadu Buhari. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

The blast at Beirut port killed at least 137 people, left dozens missing, and at least 5,000 wounded, a Lebanese health ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

Tuesday’s explosion obliterated part of the port and caused damage over a wide radius in the heart of the city, prompting fears the final death toll could yet rise significantly.

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Probing Blast

French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday called for an international investigation into the blast at Beirut’s port that killed more than 130 people and ravaged entire neighbourhoods, costing the country billions.

“An international, open and transparent probe is needed to prevent things from remaining hidden and doubt from creeping in,” he told reporters at the end of a snap visit to the Lebanese capital.

In asking for an international enquiry, he joined calls widely supported in and outside Lebanon for an independent probe, and said French investigators were on their way to Beirut.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: President Macron seeks international probe

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French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday called for an international investigation into the blast at Beirut’s port that killed more than 130 people and ravaged entire neighbourhoods, costing the country billions.

“An international, open and transparent probe is needed to prevent things from remaining hidden and doubt from creeping in,” he told reporters at the end of a snap visit to the Lebanese capital.

In asking for an international enquiry, he joined calls widely supported in and outside Lebanon for an independent probe, and said French investigators were on their way to Beirut.

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Even as they counted their dead and cleared streets of debris, many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership’s incompetence.

Lebanese authorities said the massive explosion was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at Beirut’s port.

But many questions have been raised as to how such a huge cargo of highly explosive material could have been left unsecured for years.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during a press conference in Beirut on August 6, 2020, two days after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital. Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP

Macron said a French military aircraft carrier was hours away from landing in Beirut with “rescue teams and investigators to take the search and the probe forward”.

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Lebanon’s foreign minister had announced on French radio Thursday that an investigating committee had been given four days to determine responsibility for Tuesday’s devastating explosion.

Yet most of the members of this committee are high-ranking officials who command little trust from the people and many relatives of the blast’s victims have been calling for foreign investigators.

The cataclysmic explosion, which left an estimated 300,000 people temporarily homeless and injured around 5,000 people, struck when Lebanon was already battling rampant inflation and rising poverty.

The International Monetary Fund has offered help but Lebanon’s political leaders have balked at the measures the monetary institution is requesting for a rescue package to be approved.

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To help ease the crisis, an international aid conference for Lebanon would be held “in the coming days,” Macron said.

He stressed that the aid raised during the conference would be chanelled “directly to the people, the relief organisations and the teams that need it on the ground”.

The French president took a tough tone on the reforms he said were the only thing holding back a massive aid package that could put the ailing country back in the saddle.

Speaking of Lebanon’s political leaders, Macron said: “Their responsibility is huge, that of a revamped pact with the Lebanese people in the coming weeks, that of deep change.”


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Sixteen staff members detained

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Sixteen staff members at Beirut’s port, the site of a massive explosion, have been detained over the deadly blast that devastated large parts of the city, a military prosecutor said Thursday.

Lebanese authorities had announced an investigation into Tuesday’s explosion, which they said was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at Beirut’s port.

Lebanon’s foreign minister said on French radio Thursday that an investigating committee had been given four days to determine responsibility for the blast, which killed more than 130 people and wounded at least 5,000.

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Military prosecutor Fadi Akiki said in a statement that 18 staffers at Beirut’s port had been called in for questioning, 16 of whom remain in custody pending further investigations.

They include port and customs officials as well as maintenance workers and their managers, Akiki said.

His statement came as an official confirmed to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the central bank had ordered an asset freeze for seven port and customs officials, including Badri Daher, director-general of Lebanon’s customs authority.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during a press conference in Beirut on August 6, 2020, two days after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital. Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP

The official spoke on the condition of anonimity because he is not authorised to speak on the issue.

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A banking source confirmed to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that all the country’s commercial banks recieved the order, which also lifts banking secrecy from accounts owned or linked to those in question.

Even as they counted their dead and cleared streets of debris, many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership’s incompetence.

A picture taken on August 5, 2020, shows a damaged house in the neighbourhood of Ashrafieh of the Lebanese capital Beirut’s eastern suburbs, a day after a devastating blast at the port of Lebanese’s capital, in Israel’s latest gesture towards a country with which it is technically at war.(Photo by Janine HAIDAR / AFP)

Many have raised questions as to how such a huge cargo of highly explosive material could have been left unsecured for years.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Lebanon on Thursday, called for an international enquiry, echoing demands widely supported in Lebanon and abroad for an independent probe.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Lebanon gives “I.C” 4 days to find culprits

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The government of Lebanon has given an “investigative committee” four days to determine responsibility for the devastating explosion in Beirut port on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe told French radio Thursday.

“This morning, a decision was taken to create an investigative committee which in four days maximum must provide a detailed report on responsibility — how, who, what, where? There will be judicial decisions,” he told Europe 1 radio.

“It is serious, and we take it seriously,” Wehbe said.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun (C) wears a protective face mask as he visits the site of a massive explosion the previous day in the heart of the Lebanese Beirut on August 5, 2020. (Photo by – / DALATI AND NOHRA / AFP)

“Those responsible for this horrible crime of negligence will be punished by a committee of judges,” he added.

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The provisional death toll from the massive blast stood at 137 Thursday, but with dozens missing and 5,000 wounded, the number of victims was expected to rise as rescue workers continued to comb through the rubble.

A picture taken on August 5, 2020, shows a damaged house in the neighbourhood of Ashrafieh of the Lebanese capital Beirut’s eastern suburbs, a day after a devastating blast at the port of Lebanese’s capital, in Israel’s latest gesture towards a country with which it is technically at war. (Photo by Janine HAIDAR / AFP)

The Beirut governor estimated up to 300,000 people may have been made temporarily homeless by the disaster, which he said would cost the debt-ridden country in excess of $3 billion.

On Wednesday, the government called for the house arrest of those responsible for the storage of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate, a substance used in fertilisers and explosives, in the port of the Lebanese capital.

A view shows the damage inside an apartment in the neighbourhood of Gemmayze on August 5, 2020, a day after a blast in a warehouse in the port of the Lebanese capital sowed devastation across entire city neighbourhoods, killing more than 100 people, wounding thousands and plunging Lebanon deeper into crisis. (Photo by PATRICK BAZ / AFP)

According to Lebanese officials, the explosion was caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of the substance in a portside warehouse.

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“It is an accident… preliminary reports indicate it is mismanagement of explosive products. This is a very serious neglect that continued for six years,’ said Wehbe.

An injured man sits next to a restaurant in the trendy partially destroyed Beirut neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael on August 5, 2020 in the aftermath of a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital. – (Photo by PATRICK BAZ / AFP)

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and President Michel Aoun have promised to put the culprits behind bars, but trust in institutions is low and few on the streets of the Lebanese capital hold out hope of an impartial inquiry.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday supported mounting calls for an international probe as the only credible option.

A member of the Lebanese security forces inspects damages in the Parliament building in the central district of the capital Beirut, on August 5, 2020, a day after a massive explosion in the city’s port. . (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

“An independent investigation with international experts is the best guarantee that victims of the explosion will get the justice they deserve,” the watchdog said.

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In France, prosecutors on Wednesday opened a probe into the blast over injuries inflicted on 24 French citizens.

A Palestinian girls carries the national flag and the Lebanese flag during a candle light vigil in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on August 5, 2020, in support of Lebanon a day after a blast in a warehouse in the port of the Lebanese capital sowed devastation across entire city neighbourhoods. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Flights carrying medical aid, field hospitals, rescue experts, and tracking dogs have been flying into Beirut airport since Wednesday.

And French President Emmanuel Macron was expected in Lebanon later Thursday, the highest-ranking foreign leader to visit since the tragedy.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun (C) wears a protective face mask as he visits the site of a massive explosion the previous day in the heart of the Lebanese Beirut on August 5, 2020. (Photo by – / DALATI AND NOHRA / AFP)

Macron was due to meet Aoun and other political leaders as well as civil society representatives.


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Lebanon loses 137; at least 5,000 injured

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The huge blast at Beirut port has killed at least 137 people, left dozens missing, and at least 5,000 wounded, a Lebanese health ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

Tuesday’s explosion obliterated part of the port and caused damage over a wide radius in the heart of the city, prompting fears the final death toll could yet rise significantly.

Summary from premiere story;

A huge blast at Beirut port that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city has killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said Wednesday.

“Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas,” a statement said. Continue Reading »

#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: President Macron of France heads to Lebanon

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French President Emmanuel Macron was expected in Lebanon Thursday, two days after a monster blast sowed unfathomable destruction in Beirut and brought Paris’s Middle East protege to its knees.

The highest-ranking foreign official to visit the country since Tuesday’s tragedy, Macron will visit the site of the blast that obliterated part of Beirut port and ripped through entire neighbourhoods of the city.

Two days on, Lebanon was still reeling from a blast so huge it was felt in neighbouring countries, its mushroom-shaped cloud drawing comparisons with Hiroshima and the devastation caused by its shockwave with the scene of an earthquake.

The provisional death toll stood at 137 but with dozens missing and 5,000 wounded, the number of victims was expected to rise as rescue workers continued to comb through the rubble.

According to several officials, the explosion was caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored in a portside warehouse.

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“Apocalypse”, “Armageddon” — Lebanese were lost for words to describe the impact of the blast, which dwarfed anything the country had ever experienced despite its violence-plagued history.

The Beirut governor estimated up to 300,000 people may have been made temporarily homeless by the destruction, which he said would cost the debt-ridden country in excess of three billion dollars.

French President Emmanuel Macron makes a statement as he arrives for a European Union Council in Brussels on July 17, 2020. (Photo by Francisco Seco / POOL / AFP)

International probe
Even as they counted their dead and cleaned up the streets, many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership’s incompetence and corruption.

“We can’t bear more than this. This is it. The whole system has got to go,” said 30-year-old Mohammad Suyur as he picked up broken glass in Mar Mikhail, one of the most affected districts in Beirut.

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Many questions were being asked as to how such a huge cargo of highly explosive material could have been left unsecured in Beirut for years.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and President Michel Aoun promised to put the culprits behind bars but trust in institutions is low and few on the streets of the Lebanese capital held out any hope of an impartial inquiry.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday supported mounting calls for an international probe as the only credible option.

“An independent investigation with international experts is the best guarantee that victims of the explosion will get the justice they deserve,” the watchdog said.

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In France, prosecutors on Wednesday opened a probe into the blast over injuries inflicted to 21 French citizens.

Paris spearheaded international mobilisation in support of Lebanon, which will mark its centenary next month but has looked like a country on its last legs since defaulting on its debt earlier this year.

Flights carrying medical aid, field hospitals, rescue experts and tracking dogs have been flying in since Wednesday to Beirut airport, which sustained no serious damage from the explosion.

Political backlash
Besides the international emergency effort, the aftermath of the terrible explosion yielded countless uplifting examples of spontaneous solidarity.

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Much of the cleanup was being handled by volunteers who improvised working groups, bringing their own equipment and making appeals for help on social media.

“We’re sending people into the damaged homes of the elderly and handicapped to help them find a home for tonight,” said Husam Abu Nasr, a 30-year-old volunteer.

“We don’t have a state to take these steps, so we took matters into our own hands,” he said.

Business owners swiftly took to social media, posting offers to repair doors, paint damaged walls or replace shattered windows for free.

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An unprecedented nationwide and cross-sectarian protest movement that erupted on October 17 last year had looked for a moment like it could topple what it considers a hereditary kleptocracy.

The euphoria faded as change failed to materialise and the combination of economic hardship and the coronavirus pandemic left the revolution in tatters.

The revulsion at Tuesday’s tragedy and its implications could rekindle the flame however and activists’ social media accounts were rife with calls for a new push to remove Lebanon’s widely reviled political leaders.

“Lebanon’s political class should be on guard in the weeks ahead,” Faysal Itani, a deputy director at the Center for Global Policy, wrote in an opinion piece for Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“Shock will inevitably turn to anger.”


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Ammonium nitrate was stored at port for years

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For at least six years, hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities say caused Tuesday’s massive blast, were negligently stored in a Beirut port warehouse, waiting for disaster to strike.

The odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertiliser has caused numerous industrial explosions over the decades — including the massive one in Beirut that killed at least 113 people, wounded thousands, and left 300,000 homeless.

A security source said the explosive power of the stored ammonium nitrate was equivalent to at least 1,200 tonnes of TNT — explaining how the earthquake-strength blast destroyed or damaged so much of the city.

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Lebanese port authorities and customs officials knew the chemical was being stored in the port, and one of the country’s top security agencies had called for it to be relocated after launching a probe last year, several security officials told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

But authorities did not heed the warning. Only on the day after the massive blast left much of the capital in ruins did the government say it was seeking house arrest for all officials involved in storing the highly-explosive substance.

With Tuesday’s blast damage extending across half the Lebanese capital, the burning questions on everyone’s mind are: how did so much ammonium nitrate get to Beirut in the first place and why was it stored at the port for so long?

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a view of the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut with its cranes in the aftermath of a massive explosion.  (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)

Shady shipment
In 2013, around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate came into Lebanon on board the Rhosus ship, sailing from Georgia and bound for Mozambique, a security official told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), asking not to be named because he is not authorised to speak on the issue.

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Marine Traffic, a ship tracking platform, said the Moldova-flagged vessel first arrived in Beirut’s port, the country’s busiest, on November 20, 2013 and never left.

According to Lebanese law firm Baroudi & Associates, which represents the vessel’s crew, the Rhosus ship had faced “technical problems”.

“Upon inspection of the vessel by port state control, the vessel was forbidden from sailing,” the firm said in a statement.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Several security officials told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that it temporarily docked at the port but was later seized by authorities following a lawsuit filed by a Lebanese company against the shipowner.

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Port authorities unloaded the ammonium nitrate and stored it in a rundown port warehouse with cracks in its walls, and the ship sank some time later because of damage, the officials said.

The warehouse started to exude a strange odour, which led security forces to launch a 2019 investigation that concluded that the “dangerous” chemicals needed to be removed from the premises.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a general view of destruction along a street in the centre of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, following a massive explosion at the nearby port of Beirut. (Photo by STR / AFP)

The agency also noted the walls of the warehouse were unsound, urging the port authorities to repair them.

It was not until this week that workers were dispatched and began repair works, in what might have possibly triggered the blast.

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Gross negligence
Shortly after Tuesday’s blast, the director of customs at the port, Badri Daher, published a letter he said he had sent in December 2017 to a Lebanese prosecutor, claiming it was one of many he had sent to the judiciary over the stored chemicals.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP)

In the 2017 letter, he allegedly requested the dangerous chemicals be exported or sold to a local Lebanese company after the army had said it had no use for them, but neither suggestion materialised.

A judicial source said prosecutors were only involved in ruling whether or not the ammonium nitrate-carrying vessel should be released and were not involved in issues pertaining to the substance’s storage.

Riad Kobaissi, an investigative reporter who specialises in port corruption, charged that Daher was only trying to deflect blame by publishing the letter.

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He said what has happened shows “the extent of corruption in Lebanese port customs, which is among the main bodies that bear responsibility” for the blast.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020.(Photo by STR / AFP)

Among many, the disaster has only fuelled anger at a government already widely seen as inept, corrupt, and beholden to sectarian interests.

On Twitter, users blamed authorities, using the hashtag “hang them from the gallows”.

One user posted a photo showing several prominent Lebanese politicians with the caption: “You have to pay for burning the hearts of mothers and the future of the youth and terrorising children.”


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: ‘Armageddon’ at hospitals

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His head bandaged just like his patients, Dr Antoine Qurban said Tuesday’s enormous blast brought “Armageddon” to Beirut’s overwhelmed hospitals in chaotic scenes reminiscent of a war zone.

“Wounded people bleeding out in the middle of the street, others lying on the ground in the hospital courtyard — it reminded me of my missions with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan many years ago,” he said of his volunteer stint with the medical charity.

The surgeon was among more than 4,000 wounded people who staggered or were taken into badly damaged and massively crowded hospitals across the devastated Lebanese capital on Tuesday evening.

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The huge explosion has piled even more pressure on Lebanon’s strained health sector, which before the disaster was already struggling with a wave of coronavirus cases and a severe economic crisis.

“It was Armageddon,” Qurban, who is in his late sixties, told Media ( outside the Hotel Dieu Hospital in central Beirut.

Valarie Fakhoury, a grandmother with her Lebanese daughter and granddaughter, stand outside the emergency ward of a hospital in the Hamra district of central Beirut following a huge explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020. (Photo by Janine HAIDAR / AFP)

The facility is normally his place of work, but on Wednesday he was among throngs of patients, following up on a gash he suffered Tuesday night.

Qurban was at a nearby coffee shop when the blast hit around 6:00 pm local time, flinging him some 20 metres (60 feet) across the room.

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His own hospital was overflowing within minutes with wounded, so a stranger on a motorcycle zipped him to another facility.

After an hours-long wait, a medic stitched up his head wound in the street.

Wounded people wait to receive treatment outside a hospital following an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

‘She’s already dead’
The scenes were no less chaotic on Wednesday, as people wounded overnight by falling shards of glass sought treatment, weaving between smashed equipment and piles of debris in Hotel Dieu’s hallways.

Mothers asked desperately about the fates of their wounded sons. An elderly man begged for news of his wife, who had been transferred from another hospital.

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A cacophony of cellphones rang, and fragments of exhausted conversations could be heard, usually retelling survival stories.

“A miracle kept him alive,” one woman was heard saying, while a man with a bandaged leg handed a blinking cellphone to his sister, telling her simply that “I can’t talk anymore”.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Wounded people wait to received help outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020.(Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

Hotel Dieu treated at least 300 wounded Tuesday and registered 13 dead, according to its medical director Dr George Dabar, who was a medical student there during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

“Even then, I didn’t see anything like what I saw yesterday,” he said.

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His voice cracking with emotion, Dabar told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) the hardest moment was telling families their loved ones had died, with nothing left to be done.

“It’s so hard to tell a father carrying his young daughter and trying to save her that she’s already dead.”

Two huge explosions rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. (Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

According to Lebanon’s health ministry, two hospitals were rendered completely out of service and two more were partly unusable.

At least five nurses died, and several medics and patients were severely hurt.

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“The medical teams were already exhausted by everything that has happened in this country and by the coronavirus pandemic,” Dabar said.

“But to face yesterday’s crisis, they came together with amazing solidarity.”

From cooks to maintenance workers, Dabar said, the entire staff was working side by side so Hotel Dieu could stay open.

A wounded woman receives help outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

Evacuating COVID-19 patients
The St. George Hospital was not so lucky. The blast left the facility, one of Beirut’s oldest, with collapsed ceilings and electrical wires hanging over beds showered with glass.

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“We are not in service anymore,” said St. George Hospital’s chief of staff Eid Azar.

“Amid the current economic situation, I don’t know how much time it will take to repair,” he told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

Staff worked until just before dawn to evacuate patients, equipment and files.

Wounded people are pictured outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

“We did a hospital evacuation, which very rarely happens,” and which included the highly sensitive transfer of 20 patients being treated for COVID-19, he said.

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Azar said the emergency operation reminded him of Hurricane Katrina, the devastating natural disaster that hit the US in 2005.

The courtyard was turned into a field clinic, where doctors in bloodied medical robes treated shell-shocked people in the open.

The damaged Wardieh hospital is pictured in the aftermath of yesterday’s blast that tore through Lebanon’s capital and resulted from the ignition of a huge depot of ammonium nitrate at the port, on August 5, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP)

“There’s nothing harder than evacuating a hospital filled to the brim with patients while even more wounded are coming,” said Azar.

“The hospital staff itself was wounded and we needed to transfer our own employees.”

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Medics carried patients from nine separate floors one by one on stretchers, as the blast had knocked out the elevators.

A Lebanese army soldier and a man carry away an injured man at a hospital in the aftermath of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)

Without electricity or water, nurses took great risks to provide whatever life-saving support they could.

“The hospital lights are usually on 24 hours a day — it was completely dark,” said clinical nurse specialist Lara Daher.

“We stitched up patients by the light of our cellphones last night. I don’t know how we did it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: Over 100 casualties – Lebanese red cross says

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A huge blast at Beirut port that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city has killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said Wednesday.

“Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas,” a statement said.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media – News premiere.

“We heard an explosion, then we saw the mushroom,” said one resident who witnessed the second, deafening explosion from her balcony in the city’s Mansourieh district.

“The force of the blast threw us backwards into the apartment,” she said.
Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, many bloodied, after the massive blasts, the cause of which was not immediately known.
A soldier at the port, who asked not to be named, told AFP: “It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground. Ambulances are still lifting the dead.”

The official National News Agency confirmed deaths in the blast, without citing a number.
The explosions “caused dozens of injuries,” a security source said.

The correspondent said every shop in the Hamra commercial district had sustained damage, with entire storefronts destroyed, windows shattered and many cars wrecked.
Injured people were walking in the street, while outside the Clemenceau Medical Centre, dozens of wounded people, many covered in blood, were rushing to be admitted to the centre, including children.

Destroyed cars had been abandoned in the street with their airbags inflated.
A huge cloud of black smoke was engulfing the entire port area, as helicopters flew to dump water on the burning buildings.
The port zone was cordoned off by the security forces, allowing access only to a string of ambulances, fire trucks and people whose relatives were working inside the devastated area, while others were screaming to be let through.
A huge blaze was burning at the port, where ambulances were rushing away the wounded, their sirens wailing.

The blasts were heard as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away.

Benjamin Strick, who works with investigations website Bellingcat, said on Twitter that the explosions appeared to have been centred on a 130 metre (420 foot) grey warehouse alongside a dock inside the port zone.
Video stills showed a intense blazing fireball rising higher than a line of towering storage silos, with a subsequent cloud towering into the sky.
‘Like an earthquake’
“Buildings are shaking,” tweeted one resident, while another wrote: “An enormous, deafening explosion just engulfed Beirut. Heard it from miles away.”

Online footage from a Lebanese newspaper office showed blown out windows, scattered furniture and demolished interior panelling.
The explosions hit Lebanon as it suffers its worst economic crisis in decades which has left nearly half of the population in poverty.
The country’s economy has collapsed in recent months, with the local currency plummeting against the dollar, businesses closing en masse and poverty soaring at the same alarming rate as unemployment.
The country’s worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war has sparked months of street demonstrations against the government.

The explosions also come as Lebanon awaits a UN tribunal’s verdict Friday on the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafic Hariri, killed in a huge truck bomb attack.
Four alleged members of the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah are on trial in absentia at a court in the Netherlands over the huge Beirut bombing that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people.

A woman in the city centre Tuesday told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media): “It felt like an earthquake … I felt it was bigger than the explosion in the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005”.
Tensions have also been high with neighbouring Israel, after Israel said it thwarted an infiltration attempt by up to five Hezbollah gunmen, a claim denied by the Lebanon-based and Iran-backed group.

#Newsworthy…

Explosions hit Lebanese capital, Beirut

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Two enormous explosions rocked the Lebanese capital’s port on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the Beirut sky.

Video footage of the second blast showed an enormous orange fireball that dwarfed nearby buildings and sent a devastating tornado-like shockwave ripping through the city.

“We heard an explosion, then we saw the mushroom,” said one resident who witnessed the second, deafening explosion from her balcony in the city’s Mansourieh district.

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“The force of the blast threw us backwards into the apartment,” she said.

Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, many bloodied, after the massive blasts, the cause of which was not immediately known.

A soldier at the port, who asked not to be named, told AFP: “It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground. Ambulances are still lifting the dead.”

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The official National News Agency confirmed deaths in the blast, without citing a number.

The explosions “caused dozens of injuries,” a security source said.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. Anwar AMRO / AFP

The AFP correspondent said every shop in the Hamra commercial district had sustained damage, with entire storefronts destroyed, windows shattered and many cars wrecked.

Injured people were walking in the street, while outside the Clemenceau Medical Centre, dozens of wounded people, many covered in blood, were rushing to be admitted to the centre, including children.

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Destroyed cars had been abandoned in the street with their airbags inflated.

A huge cloud of black smoke was engulfing the entire port area, as helicopters flew to dump water on the burning buildings.

The port zone was cordoned off by the security forces, allowing access only to a string of ambulances, fire trucks and people whose relatives were working inside the devastated area, while others were screaming to be let through.

A huge blaze was burning at the port, where ambulances were rushing away the wounded, their sirens wailing.

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The blasts were heard as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away.

This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a general view of destruction outside a building in the centre of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, following a massive explosion at the nearby port of Beirut. STR / AFP

Benjamin Strick, who works with investigations website Bellingcat, said on Twitter that the explosions appeared to have been centred on a 130 metre (420 foot) grey warehouse alongside a dock inside the port zone.

Video stills showed a intense blazing fireball rising higher than a line of towering storage silos, with a subsequent cloud towering into the sky.

‘Like an earthquake’
“Buildings are shaking,” tweeted one resident, while another wrote: “An enormous, deafening explosion just engulfed Beirut. Heard it from miles away.”

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Online footage from a Lebanese newspaper office showed blown out windows, scattered furniture and demolished interior panelling.

The explosions hit Lebanon as it suffers its worst economic crisis in decades which has left nearly half of the population in poverty.

The country’s economy has collapsed in recent months, with the local currency plummeting against the dollar, businesses closing en masse and poverty soaring at the same alarming rate as unemployment.

The country’s worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war has sparked months of street demonstrations against the government.

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The explosions also come as Lebanon awaits a UN tribunal’s verdict Friday on the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafic Hariri, killed in a huge truck bomb attack.

Four alleged members of the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah are on trial in absentia at a court in the Netherlands over the huge Beirut bombing that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR / AFP

A woman in the city centre Tuesday told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media): “It felt like an earthquake … I felt it was bigger than the explosion in the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005”.

Tensions have also been high with neighbouring Israel, after Israel said it thwarted an infiltration attempt by up to five Hezbollah gunmen, a claim denied by the Lebanon-based and Iran-backed group.


#Newsworthy…

News+: FG working hard to bring back girls in Lebanon – NAPTIP

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Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, on Saturday said the Federal Government is working hard to evacuate some 30 girls featured in a viral video from Lebanon.

In the viral video, the ladies were clustered in a room, seated in a tight circle, their backs against the wall. Some stood and one of them could be seen fanning herself.

They all wore face masks or covered their faces as a voice boomed in the background. “Good morning our government,” the voice started. “Please, we are pleading with you, we are stranded . . . we want to come home.”

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Okah-Donli, in two separate interviews on Saturday, said the girls are part of 150 persons already processed for evacuation by the Nigerian embassy in Lebanon.

“About 150 of them have been captured, including the girls in the video, for evacuation,” Okah-Donli said.

But the cost of chartering a flight amid coronavirus-induced lock-downs across the world “is not cheap,” the NAPTIP chief added.

“When these ones are airlifted, another batch will cry for help,” she said. “The Federal Government can not fund this alone.”

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Okah-Donli said she will meet with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq on Monday and work with State Governments to help facilitate the evacuation of the ladies.

Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, with the downturn sparking soaring inflation and plunging almost half the country’s population into poverty.

However many Nigerians are being trafficked into the country with the promise of good, well-paid jobs.

In a later interview with Media TV (known to Noble Reporters Media), Okah-Donli noted that the Federal Government has already taken steps to ensure the girls’ well-being.

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“Where they are staying now, the Nigerian embassy in Lebanon put them there, at least kept them in a safe space,” she said.

“They are not just folding their hands and playing; they are working hard with the Nigerian government here and the relevant partners to bring them back; and we will bring them back, just as we’ve been bringing girls back from all over the world.

A composite of screengrabs created on August 1, 2020, from the viral videos of Nigerians in Lebanon calling for help.

“A few weeks ago, we had a planeload of girls coming from Lebanon. So this is not a one-off exercise; it’s a gradual work in progress because we have about 5,000 of them there in Lebanon alone; and we are talking about more in Oman, Dubai, Mali, all over the place.

“It’s not a cheap exercise; it’s a very expensive exercise and the federal government is doing all it can to bring them back.”


#Newsworthy…

About 5,000 stranded in Lebanon – NAPTIP

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About 5,000 Nigerians are stranded in Lebanon, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) confirmed to Channels Television on Saturday.

The agency’s Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli said this while confirming a viral video of stranded Nigerian ladies in Lebanon calling out to the government and eminent Nigerians to help evacuate them from the Middle-East country.

Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, with the downturn sparking soaring inflation and plunging almost half the country’s population into poverty.

However many Nigerians are being trafficked into the country with the promise of good, well-paid jobs.

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“About 150 of them have been captured, including the girls in the video, for evacuation,” Okah-Donli said.

But the cost of chartering a flight amid coronavirus-induced lock-downs across the world “is not cheap,” the NAPTIP chief added.

“When these ones are airlifted, another batch will cry for help,” she said. “The Federal Government can not fund this alone.”

Okah-Donli said she will meet with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq on Monday and work with State Governments to help facilitate the evacuation of the ladies.


#Newsworthy…

23 year-old Nigerian teacher sold into slavery in Lebanon released


A 23-year-old teacher and single mother, Omolola Ajayi who was trafficked to Lebanon has been rescued by the Nigerian government after her video calling for help went viral.

Nigerians in Diaspora Commission in a statement in Abuja on Monday confirmed the rescue of Ajayi from the home of her “master” she was sold to.

The commission said Ajayi, an indigene of Osun state, is now safely in Beirut with the Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon.


Spokesman of NIDCOM, Abdul-Rahman Balogun said, “Update on the trafficked Nigerian girl to Lebanon. She is now happily in the hands of the Nigerian ambassador in Beirut. She will be home soon.”

In a viral video which circulated on social media last week, the captive explained her ordeal in the hands of her employer in Lebanon.


Narrating her ordeal in both Yoruba and English, she said her boss had made life miserable since arriving the country.

In the video, Ajayi said a family friend linked her up with an agent who took her to Lebanon with a promise to get her a teaching job, but instead of being offered a teaching job, her passport was confiscated while her employers allegedly attempted to rape her.


She said, unknown to her, she was being sold into slavery, and therefore begged the Nigerian government to come to her rescue so she could be mother of her three-year-old child.

NIDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa also tweeted;


“Breaking news. Update on the viral video of trafficked Nigerian girl in Lebanon. She is now happily in the hands of the Nigerian Amb in Beirut, received warmly and happy to be in safe hands. She will be home soon by Gods grace.”

“The alleged trafficker has been arrested and will be handed over to NAPTIP.The family of the lady have been traced ..Kwara Gov is personally on the matter. All hands on deck to ensure the trafficked lady returns.”

Three suspects were arrested by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Ilorin, Kwara state, in connection with the incident.

Chief Press Secretary to Kwara state Governor Rafiu Ajakaye said in a statement that two Nigerians and a Lebanese had been arrested in connection with the crime.


#Newsworthy…

Alleged slave victim cried out says I don’t want to die (Video)


A Nigerian lady identified as Omolola Ajayi, has cried out for help via a viral video after allegedly being sold into slavery in Lebanon.

Omolola who disclosed that her parents, Mr. Kehinde Ajayi and Mrs. Felicia Ajayi live at Offa Garage at Under Bridge in Ilorin, Kwara State, alleged that a family friend perpetrated the sad act against her.


According to the distraught Nigerian lady, she thought she was coming to Lebanon to teach English but discovered she was lied to upon arriving the country. She disclosed that some of those who fell victim to same lie are already dead as they are not taken to the hospital when they are sick by their “masters” who seized their passport upon arriving the country.

Omolola also revealed that her ‘master’ who won’t let her go because she’s been paid for, now wants to rape her.


She said in the viral video;

“A family friend introduced me to the Lebanese that brought me here to teach their children English language. It turned out to be a lie. When I got here, they collected my passport and kept it. I asked why they did that, I was told that I had been sold as a slave. What I’m facing here is not a small thing. I hope I don’t die. If we’re sick, they wouldn’t take us to hospital and they only give us analgesic. Half of the people we came to Lebanon together with have died.


“The person I’m with now wants to rape me, but I didn’t agree. I’m struggling with him. He has collected my phone. He said that he wouldn’t return it until I accept his sexual advances. If he is sleeping or has gone out, I take the phone.

“I told my boss that I wanted to be returned to Nigeria, he replied that he has paid for me; that dead or alive, he owns me. I have a three-year-old baby in Nigeria. Feminique Life Support, please help me, have mercy on me! I want to take care of my daughter. Please don’t let my death make my parents cry.

“The other girl I worked with has travelled so he could come at me again. Please help me, don’t allow them to kill me in this country. I don’t even have a room to sleep. I sleep on the floor, in the parlour, in this cold weather. I’m not even given a cloth to cover; I wear rags. Please help me because as this man tried to rape me, I pushed him away, so I am scared of him dying by my hands because they’ll kill me too.

“My child doesn’t know me and I am suffering too much. The work I came here to do is different from what they are using me for here, and as I speak, I’m even ill and the only drug I had been given was analgesic.”

Video


#Newsworthy…