6 Aug 2020 10:12

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry starting rescue operation in Beirut

BEIRUT. Aug 6 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry is launching a rescue operation in Lebanon, where rescuers will help those injured in the recent explosion and will look for possible survivors, deputy head of the Russian National Crisis Management Center Sergei Vorontsov told Interfax.

"There is information that people remain trapped under the rubble. We'll rely on K9 teams and drones. We'll certainly hold minutes of silence in order to be able to hear people trapped under the rubble," he said.

Russian rescuers plan to set up a mobile hospital with several operating rooms at the Rafic Hariri Stadium in Beirut by Thursday morning.

"A group of more than 100 rescuers from the Centrospas search and rescue center and a mobile hospital arrived in Beirut today. On August 6, we'll begin working with the emergency response headquarters in the wake of the explosion. Avenues for this work of the rescue group from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry will be determined, certain conditions will be worked out, and an action plan for the further rescue operation will be compiled," Vorontsov said.

"The group of rescuers who have arrived [in Beirut] have a lengthy record of dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes in different parts of the world," he said.

"They have a vast record of clearing debris, and I'm sure that this assistance will be relevant today," he said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry stands ready to enlarge its group in Lebanon if necessary.

"Should such a need arise, we'll increase this group. We'll also discuss the deployment of additional mobile hospitals," Vorontsov said.

A series of explosions rocked the port of the Lebanese capital on August 4. The blast wave destroyed numerous buildings and smashed windows and doors. The international airport building also sustained damage. The echo of explosions even reached Cyprus.

Lebanese authorities blamed the heavy explosions in the Beirut port on 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate confiscated by customs six years ago and stored in a warehouse.

Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council declared Beirut a disaster-stricken area and recommended that the government enact a two-week state of emergency in the city.