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Pompeo, in call with Lebanese PM, reaffirms U.S….

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Wednesday reiterated “steadfast” commitment to assist the Lebanese people, the State Department said on Wednesday, after a massive warehouse blast killed 135 people and injured thousands.

Around 5,000 people were injured in Tuesday’s explosion at Beirut port, which investigators blamed on negligence, and up to 250,000 were left without homes fit to live in after shockwaves smashed building facades, sucked furniture out into streets and shattered windows miles inland.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the United States was ready to help, but neither the White House nor the State Department have released any details of the U.S. assistance plans thus far.

U.S.-based charities have issued urgent appeals for funds to help those affected.

The United Palestinian Appeal, which aids Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and other areas, said it had a 40-foot container of pharmaceuticals valued at $10 million that was ready to be shipped, pending customs approval from the Lebanese government.

UPA Executive Director Saleem Zaru said the group was getting reports that Palestinian Red Crescent Society hospitals in refugees camps in or near Beirut were receiving a substantial number of casualties. (Reporting by David Lawder Writing by Humeyra Pamuk Editing by Diane Craft and Bernadette Baum)

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