European Council President Charles Michel on Sunday urged an independent investigation into the cause of the deadly explosion that rocked the city of Beirut and inflicted heavy casualties last Tuesday.
“What struck me most yesterday was the need for confidence, the need for trust and the need to know the truth,” Michel addressed the international conference on assistance and support to Beirut. He visited the Lebanese capital and toured the devastated site in person on Saturday.
“The people in Lebanon want to know the truth, they deserve transparency and justice. An independent and credible inquiry into the cause of this tragedy is therefore crucial,” said Michel.
He also mentioned the EU’s assistance. The bloc offered 33 million euros (38.9 million U.S. dollars) as an initial aid, and pledged on Sunday an additional amount of 30 million euros to address the urgent needs. Over 250 rescuers from the EU member states have been on the ground, plus tons of emergency supplies made available, he noted.
The amount was on top of the 33 million euros initial aid offered by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her phone call on Thursday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
“In these critical hours, the EU is providing shelter, emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, and food assistance,” said EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, who represented the Commission at the conference on Sunday.
Some 300 experts from the EU and its member states have been deployed on the ground in Lebanon, providing help in search and rescue, chemical assessment and medical treatment.