A special airplane started its engines today at the Munich Airport: Some 35 tonnes of relief supplies were delivered to Beirut as part of the European Union’s “Humanitarian Air Bridge”. A devastating explosion in the Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020 killed at least 190 and injured more than 6500.
The current relief operation expresses EU member states’ solidarity with the people of Lebanon. EU Commissioner for Crisis Management and Emergency Response Janez Lenarčič (right) accompanied the operation, seen here with the Director General of the Lebanese Civil Service Raymond Khattar (left). Andreas Kindl, the German Ambassador in Beirut, was also there as the plane landed. The Humanitarian Air Bridge was set up during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to quickly provide aid without bureaucratic hurdles.
Amongst the supplies were nine ambulances and protective equipment for the fire brigade. An Antonov An-124 cargo plane, a model designed in the 1970s to carry massive cargo loads, was used to transport the supplies.
The Port of Beirut and large swaths of the city were destroyed in the explosion. Individual EU member states and private actors often come together within the context of the “Team Europe” strategy. For this operation, Germany and Portugal teamed up with “Orienthelfer”, a German aid organisation based in Munich.
Since the beginning of May, 66 flights have already taken off as part of the EU's Humanitarian Air Bridge, bringing more than 1200 tonnes of relief supplies to regions with health and humanitarian needs. The flights are fully funded by the EU.