Explosion in Beirut – France is taking action to help Beirut and the Lebanese people – Communiqué from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (08 Aug. 20)


Given the extreme emergency presently occurring in Beirut, France is calling on its resources to take action to help the Lebanese people.

1. An air and sea bridge involving eight flights and two maritime links are bringing personnel, medical material, medicine, and food to Lebanon. These personnel and supplies consist of aid from the French government, as well as support from businesses, agricultural sectors and non-profit organisations in France.

On Wednesday, 5 August, two planes transporting 55 civil security personnel, 15 tonnes of material and equipment to support the intervention, as well as an emergency healthcare response unit capable of caring for 500 patients, and 5.5 tonnes of emergency medicine, left from Charles de Gaulle airport bound for Beirut. They were joined by a flight chartered by the CMA-CGM group, transporting 9 marine firefighters and 500 kg of medical intervention equipment, which departed on the same day from Marseille.

On Thursday 6 August, a new flight of emergency aid left the Villacoublay military airport to transport a detachment of 60 persons from the Ministry of the Interior, followed by a freight flight that departed from Orléans on Friday 7 August to transport 11 tonnes of medicine that would help care for more than 1,000 wounded, as well as a selection of 10,000 doses of vaccines.

Three other military flights are planned for Saturday 8 August and Sunday 9 August, in order to deliver 13 tonnes of food supplies, and 3 tonnes of medicine, including donations from businesses and non-profit organisations.

The Tonnerre amphibious helicopter carrier will sail from Toulon on Sunday 9 August, and a cargo vessel will be chartered by the Ministry for the Armed Forces from Toulon at the beginning of next week. These resources will help to put in place support for healthcare, including through the Tonnerre’s on-board hospital, engineering teams and equipment, airborne resources, as well as the transport of 200 tonnes of flour, dairy products and baby products, 134 tonnes of food rations, 75,000 litres of potable water, and material for reconstruction.

The French national federation of firefighters and marine firefighters of Marseille will provide donations of equipment, including vehicles.

2. This exceptional mobilisation of all French actors is bringing emergency assistance to the Lebanese, with priority given to certain areas: healthcare, education, rebuilding housing and infrastructure, and providing food aid.

French teams are supporting the teams working on the ground. The civil security detachment is participating in search and rescue operations and clearing debris. The police and gendarmes are working to identify victims and to uncover the causes of the explosion. Experts are participating in the analysis and evaluation of chemical risks.

Medical aid amounts to more than 18 tonnes of medicine, hygiene kits, vaccines, and medical equipment. This aid gives capacity to care for more than 1,500 wounded.

Food aid is made up of a shipment of more than 663 tonnes of products, rations, and food supplements. 20,000 tonnes of wheat and 20,000 tonnes of flour may also be sent in the coming days.

In cooperation with the Lebanese authorities and the United Nations agencies, France continues to identify other needs, including reconstruction, with basic building materials such as glass and aluminium coming soon.

Particular attention will be given to schools and universities, and to hospitals that were damaged by the explosion. In his visit to Lebanon on 23-24 July, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs expressed support for schools and announced efforts in that area. To continue these efforts, an evaluation of needs for the rapid repair of the schools that were the most impacted by the explosion was launched, in cooperation with the French Embassy, the Agency for French Education Abroad, and the main actors in education for French speakers in Lebanon.

3. Following his travel to Lebanon, starting on 6 August, the President of the French Republic proposed holding an international conference of assistance and support for Beirut and the Lebanese population on Sunday 9 August, which will be chaired by France and the United Nations, and will help join together global solidarity to help the Lebanese, who were so hard hit by the explosion in Beirut on 4 August.

France stands, as it always has, with Lebanon and the Lebanese people. It intends to continue to do so, alongside its international partners.