Switzerland sends medical support team to Beirut
Six Swiss medical experts have flown to Lebanon to help with the aftermath of the massive dockside explosion in Beirut. Switzerland has also donated CHF5 million ($5.5 million) and previously sent 20 aid workers to the Middle East country.
The latest team of specialists are accompanied by 1.5 tons of medical equipment, in the areas of surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics. The huge blast on August 4 tore down buildings in a wide radius, killing more than 200 people, injuring thousands and leaving some 300,000 homeless.
In a statement on Friday, the government said experts from the Swiss Corps for Humanitarian Aid had completed checks on 80 buildings in Beirut and were working on repairing two hospitals. It is hoped that one hospital would be functional in the next few days.
The Swiss team will also work on six schools to get them up and running by mid-September. Around 120 schools in the city were damaged by the explosion.
Of the CHF5 million already pledged by Switzerland, CHF4 million will be directed at the health and education sectors. A further CHF1 million will be allocated equally to the Lebanese Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
It is still unclear what sparked the fire that ignited nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that were stored for years in Beirut’s port next to densely populated residential areas.swissinfo.ch/mga