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Britain to hand Lebanon another £20million to help deal with aftermath of devastating Beirut explosion

BRITAIN is to hand Lebanon another £20 million to help deal with the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.

The cash is being donated ahead of a meeting to coordinate a response to the devastating blitz which adds to the £5 million already pledged.

The International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has pledged to “stand by the Lebanese people” after the blast in the city’s port on Tuesday killed more than 150 people, injured 5000 and left 300,000 homeless.

The cash comes as nations met at the ‘International conference on assistance and support to Beirut and the Lebanese people’, convened by French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Today the world is coming together to stand by the Lebanese people, and as one of the biggest donors to this crisis so far, the UK is pledging more urgent support to help all those affected by this terrible disaster.”

A British team of specialist medics flew to Lebanon on Friday to assess health needs on the ground and identify what more the UK can do to help following the devastating explosion.

Humanitarian experts from the UK are also on the ground and the Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise will deploy to Beirut.

One British aid worker said the impact of the explosion can be seen six miles from the epicentre of the blast.

British charity Saraid (Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters) has been working in the city for several days, trying to find survivors and evaluate the structural safety of buildings hit by the blast.

One of Saraid’s volunteers, Rob Davis, 49, described the epicentre of the explosion as “completely devastated, a huge amount of damage”, but the effects can also be seen further out of the city.

He said: “The area of affected property is massive.

“If I can give you some indication of the scale of the effect of the blast, my base of operations is 10km (6.2 miles) from the port, the windows in my base have been affected by the blast.

A firefighter by trade, volunteer Mr Davis added: “I’m 10km from the port – from the epicentre of this explosion – and my hotel, it’s not structurally damaged, but the fabrication of it is damaged.”

Mr Davis said there are “various levels of damage” across communities in Beirut, but Saraid workers are liaising with local agencies to check buildings and rank them as safe or unsafe, to “try and get some sense of normality back to the communities of Beirut”.

He added: “The whole community has been shocked by this devastating event.”

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