Diab said the explosion was the result of widespread corruption. “The state is shackled by corruption and cannot get rid of it. Today we are taking a step back to stand behind the people. People demand that those responsible for the disaster be dealt with and that real change comes. On Monday there were new protests in the center of Beirut. Protesters at parliament threw stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas.
On Tuesday, a warehouse exploded in the port containing about 2,750 tons of confiscated ammonium nitrate. More than two hundred people were killed, according to the governor of Beirut. An estimated 6,000 people have been injured and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. The revelation that this substance lay in the capital for years as a kind of ticking time bomb led to violent demonstrations.
Before the explosion, the country was already in a deep economic and political crisis that led to much unrest. Protesters now also turned against the government, which they hold responsible for the disaster for allegedly being corrupt and negligent.
The Dutch search and rescue team USAR returned on Monday from the operation in Beirut, which began on Wednesday. The team landed at Eindhoven Air Base at the beginning of the evening. “We are back on Dutch soil,” said a spokesman.
Two people remain in Beirut to help with the logistics of the equipment. The cargo plane is expected to depart from Lebanon on Wednesday with all equipment. In total, 63 Dutch rescue workers and 8 search dogs were active.
After the heavy explosion last Tuesday, USAR helped with the search for victims under the rubble, support at the Dutch embassy and check buildings for danger of collapse. The team has not found any victims, but was able to rule out that someone was under the rubble.
The team looks back on the operation with satisfaction. “The people there were very happy that we were there and could help, which gives a lot of satisfaction during your work. In addition, we were very impressed that all team members were ready so quickly. There were health workers who were at the bedside during the height of the corona crisis, and who still came back from their vacation to help. ”
This Friday there will be a National Day of Action for the victims of the explosion in Beirut. The Cooperating Aid Organizations, united in Giro555, ask for support throughout the day for the relief work to the Lebanese population. NPO, RTL, Talpa Network and Facebook support the action day.