Beirut explosion: over half the city damaged in blast that killed at least 100 and wounded 4,000

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The European Union is activating its civil protection system to round up emergency workers and equipment from across the 27-nation bloc to help Beirut, according to the Associated Press.

The EU commission says the plan is to urgently dispatch over 100 firefighters with vehicles, sniffer dogs and equipment designed to find people trapped in urban areas. The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Poland and the Netherlands are taking part and others are expected to join.

The EU’s satellite mapping system will help Lebanese authorities to establish the extent of the damage. Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic says the EU “shares the shock and sadness” of Beirut residents and stands ready to provide extra help.

Looking ahead, there are concerns around Lebanon’s import-dependent food supply. In photos of the aftermath, you will be able to see destroyed wheat silos. Those accounted for up to 85% of the country’s grain, according to estimates, although they were reportedly nearly empty during the blast.

Reuters is quoting the economy minister, Raoul Nehme, as saying the nation has less than a month’s reserves of the grain but still with enough flour to avoid a crisis. the economy minister said on Wednesday.

Minister of Public Works Michel Najjar has said the country will now use the northern city of Tripoli as Lebanon’s main shipping port. It is currently operating at less than half of its total capacity.

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