Donors Pledge ‘Major’ Emergency Aid for Blast-stricken Lebanon

World powers agreed at an emergency donor conference on Sunday to provide "major resources" to help Beirut recover from the massive explosion that destroyed swathes of the city, pledging not to fail Lebanon's people.

Lebanon was already mired in political and financial crisis before Tuesday's port explosion that killed 158 people.

Foreign countries demanded transparency over how the aid is used, wary of writing blank checks to a government viewed by its own people as deeply corrupt. Some are concerned about the influence of Iran through the Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

The "assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people … and directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency," the final communique stated.

The communique did not give a figure for the pledges made.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Beirut on Thursday, hosted the conference by video-link and in his opening remarks urged participating nations to put aside their differences and support the Lebanese people.

Turkish volunteers distribute food and water at the site of this week’s massive explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, August 8, 2020.IHH via AP

The international response should be coordinated by the United Nations in Lebanon, he added.