“We need to get help to the people of Lebanon right now,” says Labour

Elliot Chappell

Lisa Nandy has said that “we need to get help to the people of Lebanon right now” and that it is “absolutely right” that the UK is offering support and prioritising the medical response.

In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Foreign Secretary discussed the explosion that took place in Beirut on Tuesday afternoon. She warned that the city had been hit by a “triple whammy in terms of healthcare”.

She described the incident as “absolutely horrendous” but said that it is still too soon to speculate on what may have happened to cause the explosion, which has killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000.

Commenting on the blast, she said: “It’s far too early to spend time speculating on what’s happened. We need to get help to the people of Lebanon right now. It’s absolutely right that the UK is saying that we will step up and right to prioritise the medical response.

“Lebanon essentially has been hit by a triple whammy in terms of healthcare. They’ve got huge numbers people injured. They were already reeling from the impact of Covid and many of the medical services there were already overwhelmed.

“And on top of that there’s obviously been some damage done to hospitals and healthcare systems because of the blast. So we’ve got to get that medical help in quickly and start to help Lebanon get back on its feet.”

Images and videos of the explosion have been circulating on social media since Tuesday afternoon. Pictures show cars overturned and roads covered in shattered glass and twisted metal, with homes and businesses reduced to rubble.

Residents in the city have reported that the blast caused ceilings to collapse in houses as far as 2km away, and there have also been accounts of hospitals struggling to cope with the number of casualties in the wake of the incident.

The UK has offered support to Lebanon. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the reports from the city as “shocking” and said that “the UK is ready to provide support in any way we can”.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that the explosion was caused by a 2,750 metric ton store of ammonium nitrate, which he said had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures.

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