An international conference on Lebanon raised about $ 370 million in humanitarian aid today, a year after a devastating explosion in a Beirut port, France, the country’s former colonial government, said.

That money should be provided in the next 12 months, the AP reported.

The international community, led by US President Joseph Biden and French President Emanuel Macron, has called on Lebanese leaders to pull the country out of the worst economic crisis in history.

“No aid will be enough if Lebanese politicians do not commit to hard but necessary work to reform the economy and fight corruption,” the US president warned, promising new aid of almost $ 100 million at the third “International Conference in Support of the Lebanese People.”

His French counterpart Macron, who chaired the video conference, criticized the unjust dysfunction of the Lebanese political class.

Lebanon does not have a functioning government since the explosion, in which more than 200 people were killed and entire neighborhoods of the capital were destroyed, on August 4, 2020, according to AFP.

Lebanese leaders have so far failed to respond to international pressure to find a compromise to get the country out of the crisis.

The international community has conditioned $ 11 billion in aid needed for the country’s economic recovery, the establishment of a government and the implementation of reforms.

In other news, the new conference has provided assistance for education, health, water and food needs, according to a press release.

France, in addition to almost 100 million euros in aid, is also sending 500,000 doses of vaccines against kovid-19, and the German Minister of Foreign Affairs promised 40 million euros, including aid to Syrian refugees. The EU has announced 5.5m euros to fight the pandemic.

Thousands of Lebanese, including the families of the victims, today marked the anniversary of the explosion with a minute of silence and prayers in grief and anger.

A group of protesters clashed not far from them with members of the security forces, near the parliament building, who are accused of blocking the investigation into the explosion and refused to lift the immunity of high-ranking officials suspected of negligence that led to the explosion.

A year after the explosion, there is still no answer as to who ordered the delivery of almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate to the port of Beirut and why the officials ignored the warnings that poorly stored highly explosive chemicals are a danger.

Several thousand people protested in various parts of Beirut, shouting slogans against the political class they blame for the explosion, corruption and mismanagement.

The families of the victims carried photos of their loved ones, held a commemoration and prayed in the port where the ruins of giant silos still stand. The name of each person killed was read.

Today was a day of mourning in Lebanon and flags were lowered to half-mast in government institutions and embassies.

The explosion, along with the economic crisis, political stalemate and growing poverty, poses the most serious threat to the stability of that small country since the 1975-1990 civil war.

By Editor

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