Greece will do whatever it can to help Lebanon, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis told Greek TV station ANT1 in Beirut on Wednesday. The official was part of a delegation which accompanied a Special Disaster force (EMAK) unit dispatched to the Lebanese city following the devastating blast that flattened the port.
The search and rescue unit was sent to Lebanon by order of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“Beirut is a bombed landscape, the picture is one of catastrophe,” Fragogiannis told interviewers, noting that 100,000 people had been left homeless by Tuesday’s blast. This was the disturbing figure he was given at meetings with Lebanese Vice President and Defense Minister Zeina Adra Akar and Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbi.
The Deputy Foreign Minister also quoted diplomatic sources which disclosed that at this point it appears one Greek woman had been killed in the blast while there were five injured Greek nationals overall; two of these were in serious condition.
Asked if there would be any repatriation of Greek citizens, Fragogiannis said “we are observing the situation and will do whatever is necessary.”
The EMAK unit, which includes 13 rescue staff, specially trained dogs and all the required equipment for searches and rescues of every type, was sent out immediately after the blast on a C-130 military aircraft.
The first such team to arrive in Beirut, the sending of the unit was meant to express the solidarity of the Greek people, as well as the Greek prime minister and the foreign minister, with the people of Lebanon.
“They will need more help – the situation is dramatic – they will need medical equipment, hospital care and help from the EU,” the Deputy Minister told interviewers from ANT1.
Fragogiannis noted that, according to information from the meetings he had, four of the hospitals in the area are completely destroyed, and those remaining in operation cannot handle the enormous numbers of the injured in the city.
The situation in Lebanon was already difficult before the blast, he stated, adding that Greece “must stand by Lebanon to prevent developments that could get out of control in the region.”
With information from AMNA