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World - August 8, 2020

Trump to join Beirut donor conference call Sunday

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump said Friday that he would take part in an international conference call for donors organizing aid for Lebanon after the giant explosion in Beirut.

Trump, who talked with his Lebanese counterpart as well as the conference s organizer French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted that “everyone wants to help!”

“We will be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon, and leaders from various other parts of the world,” he said.

A White House statement later said that Trump had “expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Lebanon” in the phone call with his counterpart Michel Aoun, in which he “vowed to continue United States support in providing critical emergency supplies to meet health and humanitarian needs during this difficult time.”

The two leaders also discussed recovery efforts and Trump “affirmed continued United States assistance to the people of Lebanon.”

The blast at Beirut s port killed more than 150 and devastated swaths of the city, as rescuers continue to desperately comb the rubble for survivors.

Officials have said a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years in a warehouse at the port and somehow caught fire, leading to Tuesday s earth-shaking blast.

Lebanon s hospitals, already strained by rising coronavirus cases and a severe economic crisis, were heavily damaged by the blast and overwhelmed by casualties.

The World Health Organization has called for $15 million to cover immediate health needs.

The United Nations said up to 100,000 children are among the 300,000 people made homeless, including many who have been separated from their families.

Relief flights from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates landed in Lebanon on Friday, following others from France, Kuwait, Qatar and Russia.

Trump said three US planes loaded with supplies were on the way to Lebanon, as were first responders and medical workers.

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