Army says there is little hope of finding survivors in the rubble of Beirut port

Hopes are dwindling to find survivors in the port of Beirut, five days after the two devastating explosions that hit the Lebanese capital, the Lebanese army announced today.

REUTERS / Issam Abdallah

“[After several days of] search and rescue operations, we can say that we have ended the first phase, one that offers the possibility of finding people alive. We continue to have hope, but as technicians working in the field, we can say that the hope of finding people alive is waning, ”said Col. Roger Khouri, head of the military engineering regiment, during a press conference.

Even today, at the opening of the international donor videoconference, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, defended “acting quickly and effectively” so that aid “goes very directly” to the Lebanese population.

The head of state also asked the Lebanese authorities to “act so that the country does not sink and to respond to the aspirations that the Lebanese people are legitimately expressing in the streets of Beirut, at this moment. We all have a duty to do everything so that violence and chaos do not prevail ”.

"However, today, those who have an interest in this division and chaos are the powerful who want, in some way, harm to the Lebanese people," added the President, without naming names, from his residence in Brégançon, in Borme-les-Mimosas (Var, south of France), in the videoconference co-organized in a few days by the UN and France and which brings together about 15 leaders.

Macron insisted that the "offer of help also includes support for an impartial, reliable and independent investigation into the causes of the catastrophe".

“It is a strong and legitimate request from the Lebanese people. It is a matter of trust. The means are available and must be mobilized, ”he said.

However, neither the Lebanese President nor the leader of the Shiite Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, wants foreigners to participate in the investigation, claiming Lebanon's sovereignty to manage its affairs.

During the visit to the Lebanese capital, the French President promised that the money would not go to “corruption” and, according to a diplomatic source, quoted by AFP, that aid will be concentrated on the needs of food and infrastructure.

Among the leaders is the American President, Donald Trump, who justified his participation because he wanted to be “beside Beirut and the Lebanese people” who “mourns their dead, expresses their anger and wants to raise their heads” after the explosion which damaged part of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday.

In the videoconference, in addition to the President of Lebanon and host, Michel Aoun, are the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, the Spanish prime ministers, Pedro Sánchez, from Italy, Giuseppe Conte, and the secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

On Tuesday, a fire in a warehouse where 2.700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years in the port of Beirut, caused two explosions that left 158 ​​dead, around 6.000 injured, and dozens missing and hundreds of thousands of homeless. , according to the latest report released by the authorities.

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