Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide has expressed the Norwegian government’s sympathy for the victims of Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut that killed at least 135 people, injured hundreds more and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Søreide promised emergency aid on top of the NOK 470 million already has sent to Lebanon this year.
As Lebanese citizens continue to protest corruption and inept leadership, Søreide acknowledged how “the tragic incident” came on top of “an already difficult situation” given the country’s “lengthy political and economic crisis” and consequences of the Corona virus. She noted in a commentary in newspaper Aftenposten on Friday that Lebanon is also housing more than a million Syrian refugees and several hundred thousand Palestinian refugees.
“Nearly 300,000 people have lost their homes and right now, shelter, food and medicine is what’s needed most,” Søreide wrote. Norway has issued an emergency budget allocation of NOK 25 million and will be sending around 40 tons of medical equipment “as quickly as possible.” The government is also cooperating with its “humanitarian partners,” Søreide wrote, to determine “how we can best help, but the situation is still unpredictable and chaotic.”