Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati formed Tuesday a ministerial delegation that will head Wednesday to Syria to meet with Syrian officials over the deadly earthquake.
The Lebanese delegation includes Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Public Works and Tranport Minister Ali Hamieh, Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar and Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan. It also includes Secretary General of the Higher Relief Committee Maj. Gen. Mohamed Kheir and Director of the Medical Care Directorate at the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Joseph el-Helo.
Minister Ali Hamieh held a meeting with the Lebanese rescue team that will head to Syria today, at the Fire Department in Karantina.
Hamieh gave the necessary instructions to the team who will help in the search and rescue operations following the deadly earthquake that hit the neighboring nation yesterday.
“The mission has been formed by the Higher Defense Council, and it comprises members of the army, the Civil Defense, the Beirut Fire Brigade, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Crisis Management Committee,” said Hamieh.
“Syria is a brotherly country,” he stressed. “”It is our duty to stand by its side despite the critical economic conditions we are going through,” he added.
Minister Hamieh announced that Lebanon’s seaports and airports will be open to receive the tax-exempt humanitarian aid destined for Syria.
Rescuers in Syria and Turkey are looking for survivors beneath rubble as the death toll of devastating earthquakes surpassed 5,000 in the two countries.
Authorities feared the death toll from Monday’s pre-dawn earthquake and aftershocks would keep climbing as rescuers searched for survivors among tangles of metal and concrete.
For its part, the Lebanese aviation union affirmed readiness to offer all its capabilities to facilitate the rescue endeavors in Syria via Beirut International Airport.
The Lebanese Civil Defense, the Lebanese Red Cross, Hezbollah’s Islamic Health Organizations and the Amal-affiliated Islamic Rissala Scout Association had earlier announced that they were sending rescue teams to Syria.
The Lebanese Army meanwhile announced that it will send 15 soldiers from its Engineering Regiment to the neighboring country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants called on the Lebanese nationals in Syria and Turkey to abide by the procedures and safety instructions issued by the Syrian and Turkish competent authorities.
It added that in case of emergency, the Lebanese nationals are asked to contact the Lebanese Embassy in Ankara (00905059214848 or 00905386076547) and the Embassy in Damascus (00963994386172).
Source: Al-Manar English Website and other websites