Morocco leading in humanitarian aid to Lebanon

According to media reports, humanitarian aid provided by Morocco exceeded assistance from the US, as well as European, Asian and Arab countries.
Thursday 13/08/2020
A Moroccan military aid plane at Beirut international Airport on August 7. (AFP)
A Moroccan military aid plane at Beirut international Airport on August 7. (AFP)

RABAT –Morocco has sent more aid to Lebanon than any other country following the catastrophic August 4 explosion that killed more than 170 people, injured at least 6,000, wrecked Beirut’s port and caused widespread damage across the capital.

According to media reports, humanitarian aid provided by Morocco exceeded assistance from the US, as well as European, Asian and Arab countries.

On August 6, Moroccan King Mohammed VI ordered eight flights with medical and humanitarian aid to Lebanon – a move, he said, to express “Morocco’s solidarity with the Lebanese people.”

The first aid shipment, which reached Beirut International Airport two days after the explosion, transported 295 tons of basic foodstuffs, 10 tons of medical equipment and 11 tons of special equipment to help the Lebanese people in dealing with the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morocco also donated first aid medicine, food products including grains, canned food, powder milk, oil, and sugar, in addition to tents and blankets.

King Mohammed VI’s initiative had a “great impact on the hearts of the Lebanese, and it came at the right time,” said Lebanese Ambassador to Morocco Ziad Atallah.

“I express, on behalf of the Lebanese government, our deep gratitude and high esteem for the generous initiative of HM King Mohammed VI,” director of Arab Affairs at the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ali Al-Mawla Safir told MAP.

“The Moroccan humanitarian initiative, considered as one of the most important aid received by Lebanon, is an expression of solidarity on the part of Morocco, which has always shown a strong attachment to the values of solidarity with sisterly countries,” Safir added.

Morocco also received dozens of messages of appreciation from Lebanese citizens, with the Arabic hashtag “Thank you King Mohammed VI” sweeping social networks like Twitter in recent days.

The Moroccan monarch also ordered the establishment of a military field hospital in Beirut to help support medical operations as the number of victims surged.

The field hospital, which started operating August 10, counts 150 professionals, including 45 doctors of various specialities, notably resuscitators, surgeons, traumatologists, ENTs, ophthalmologists, burn treatment personnel, neurosurgeons, paediatricians and pharmacists.

The August 4 explosion, which was centred on Beirut’s port and ripped across the capital, left around a quarter of a million people with homes unfit to live in.

It also dealt a catastrophic blow to everyone in Lebanon from mechanics to major food importers who were already struggling amid a financial crisis that hammered the currency and sent unemployment soaring.

Beirut was built around its port, one of the region’s busiest and for centuries a lifeline for Lebanon’s merchant culture.

The blast badly damaged the port, and while some shipping lines say they are resuming visits to its container terminal, traders and business owners say they have no visibility on what goods survived or when imports can resume.