WORLD NEWS

US Aid Begins Flowing To Lebanon In Wake Of Deadly Explosion

Aug 6, 2020, 3:26 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm
BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 06: Emergency workers search a collapsed building on August 6, 2020 in Bei...
BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 06: Emergency workers search a collapsed building on August 6, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. On Thursday, the official death toll from Tuesday's blast stood at 137, with thousands injured. Public anger swelled over the possibility that government negligence over the storage of tons of ammonium nitrate was behind the catastrophe. (Photo by Marwan Tahtah/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marwan Tahtah/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Thursday began delivering aid to Lebanon in the aftermath of a massive deadly explosion, amid longstanding concerns about how officials can ensure that supplies get to those in need, and not to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The first C-17 transport aircraft with 11 pallets of food, water and medical supplies from the U.S. military’s Central Command arrived from Qatar and two more were expected in the next 24 hours.

U.S. officials said the administration also plans to provide at least $15 million in disaster assistance. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. But the provision of assistance is complicated by the outsized role that Hezbollah plays in both the Lebanese government and in the fabric of Lebanon’s society.

A stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate set off a massive blast that rocked the capital city. The chemical had been left sitting in a warehouse ever since it was confiscated from an impounded cargo ship in 2013.

The explosion, powerful enough to be felt in Cyprus across the Eastern Mediterranean, killed more than 130 people, wounded thousands and blasted buildings for miles around. Two days later, some 300,000 people — more than 12% of Beirut’s population — can’t return to their homes, officials estimate. Damaged hospitals are still struggling to deal with the wounded and officials have estimated losses at $10 billion to $15 billion.

DEVASTATING: These satellite images show the site of yesterday's explosion in Beirut before and after. Lebanon leaders…

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Hezbollah is recognized as a legitimate political party in Lebanon but deemed a terrorist organization by the State Department because of its anti-Israel stance and attacks on the Jewish state. As such, it is subject to significant American sanctions and since it has been part of the Lebanese government, successive U.S. administrations have wrestled with how to continue to provide aid to the country that does not benefit the group.

Although pro-Israel lawmakers and anti-Iran hawks have long demanded that the U.S. halt all assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Trump administration and its predecessors have resisted such a cut-off, arguing that the army is the only legitimate entity in Lebanon capable of countering Hezbollah’s influence and ensuring security.

Currently, non-military U.S. aid to Lebanon is funneled in such a way as to avoid or reduce the chances of it making its way to any part of Hezbollah, a task which has become more difficult and is particularly sensitive in the current circumstance of providing disaster assistance since the group took control of the Health Ministry earlier this year.

“We’re well aware of some of the concerns with whom the aid would go to and ensuring that the aid gets to the people of Lebanon that need it most,” said Jonathan Hoffman, chief spokesman for the Pentagon, during a press conference Thursday. He said the department is working with the State Department and taking its guidance on where to deliver the aid.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and head of Central Command, said in a statement that, “We are closely coordinating with the Lebanon Armed Forces, and expect that we will continue to provide additional assistance throughout Lebanon’s recovery effort.”

Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the Lebanese Armed Forces will receive the aid and distribute it to the people, and that the effort is being coordinated with the U.S. embassy in Beirut and USAID.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Smoke billows from the Iskenderun Port as rescue workers work at the scene of a collapsed building ...
Mehmet Guzel, Ghaith Alsayed and Suzan Fraser

Race to find survivors as quake aid pours into Turkey, Syria

Search teams and emergency aid from around the world are pouring into Turkey and Syria as rescuers working in freezing temperatures dig through the remains of buildings flattened by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
14 hours ago
Elif Ekin was born in Turkey, and now owns and operates Kahve Cafe in Salt Lake City. (KSL-TV)...
Jed Boal

‘It’s devastating:’ Utahn born in Turkey expresses her concerns after 7.8 earthquake

A Salt Lake City café owner was born not too far from the epicenter of the 7.8 Turkey earthquake and still has family and friends in that area.
2 days ago
Rescue workers attend the scene of a collapsed building on February 06, 2023 in Iskenderun Turkey. ...
Madison Swenson

Church area presidency releases statement following earthquakes in Turkey, Syria

The Europe Central Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a statement following the deadly earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria.
2 days ago
Men search for people among the debris in a destroyed building in Adana, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 6, 20...
Associated Press

Survivors scream as desperate rescuers work in Turkey, Syria

Rescue workers and civilians passed chunks of concrete and household goods across mountains of wreckage early Monday, moving tons of wreckage by hand in a desperate search for survivors trapped by a devastating earthquake.
2 days ago
A car is seen under the wreckage of a collapsed building, in Azmarin town, in Idlib province, north...
Mehmet Guzel, Ghaith Alsayed and Suzan Fraser, Associated Press

Rescuers scramble in Turkey, Syria after quake kills 4,000

Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria are searching through the frigid night, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble.
2 days ago
A view of a destroyed building is pictured here after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake jolts Turkey's Kah...
Rhea Mogul, Gul Tuysuz and Isil Sariyuce

At least 118 dead as 7.8-magnitude earthquake hits southern Turkey

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Turkey early Monday and was followed by a strong aftershock.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
US Aid Begins Flowing To Lebanon In Wake Of Deadly Explosion