Portugal available to send 42 operatives to Lebanon

Portugal said on Wednesday it was willing to send 42 operatives from a joint force to Lebanon to assist local authorities in the wake of the two explosions that rocked Beirut on Tuesday.

REUTERS / Issam Abdallah

The announcement was made by the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), which, in a statement, specifies that the team is composed of Civil Protection, GNR, INEM and the Lisbon Firefighters Regiment.

According to MAI, the operational personnel have expertise in the areas of search and rescue in an urban environment, pre-hospital emergency and response to nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical events.

The willingness to send these operatives comes in response to a request for international assistance from the Lebanese authorities to the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

The mobilization of the Joint National Operational Force still depends, however, on the formal acceptance of the Lebanese authorities, adds the MAI.

Two successive strong explosions rocked Beirut on Tuesday, causing more than a hundred deaths and more than 4.000 injuries, according to the latest assessment by the Red Cross.

Up to 300.000 people are said to have been homeless due to the explosions, according to Lebanese capital governor Marwan Abboud.

The Portuguese government indicated on Tuesday that it had no indication that there were national citizens among the victims.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, today sent a message to his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Aoun, expressing “condolences to the families of the mortal victims and wishes for a speedy recovery for all the wounded, as well as his solidarity with the entire Lebanese people. ”.

The Portuguese Government also expressed solidarity with Lebanon and its people, adding that it will participate in the European Union's support plan.

The violent explosions must have originated from explosive materials confiscated and stored for several years in the port of the Lebanese capital.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab revealed that about 2.750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored in the exploding Beirut port depot.

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