USAF’s C-17 delivers relief to Beirut following port explosion

7 August 2020 (Last Updated August 7th, 2020 11:35)

A US Air Force (USAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has completed a humanitarian aid delivery to Beirut, Lebanon, following the port explosion that killed around 135 people and injured approximately 5,000 others.

USAF’s C-17 delivers relief to Beirut following port explosion
USAF’s C-17 Globemaster III has completed a humanitarian aid delivery to Beirut, Lebanon, following the port explosion. Credit: Staff Sgt Jacob N Bailey / US Air Force.

A US Air Force (USAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has completed a humanitarian aid delivery to Beirut, Lebanon, following the port explosion that killed around 135 people and injured approximately 5,000 others.

Pilots of the 816th Air Expeditionary Airlift Squadron made the first aid delivery.

They delivered 11 pallets of food, water and medical supplies from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to Lebanon.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander General Frank McKenzie said: “The US is actively engaged in delivering food, water, and medical supplies to the Lebanese Armed Forces to meet the critical needs of the Lebanese people.

“We are closely coordinating with the Lebanon Armed Forces, and expect that we will continue to provide additional assistance throughout Lebanon’s recovery effort.”

Two more C-17s Globemaster aircraft are expected to deliver more supplies to the people of Lebanon.

The Lebanese Government has declared a two-week state of emergency following the explosion, which occurred due to the improper storage of 2,750t of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse for six years.

CENTCOM is working with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to receive the shipment and distribute supplies to the people of Lebanon.

It is also planning future assistance and coordination with the LAF, the US Embassy-Beirut, and USAID to identify and meet the critical needs of the people.

CENTCOM spokesperson Captain Bill Urban was quoted by Politico as saying: “This will be a direct handover from the US military to the LAF. We are confident in LAF’s ability to receive and distribute the aid to the people of Lebanon in greatest need of support.”