Armenia expressed readiness on Wednesday to send humanitarian aid to Lebanon following a massive explosion in Beirut which killed at least 100 people, including several ethnic Armenians, and injured thousands of others.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian communicated the offer to Lebanese President Michel Aoun in a phone call reported by his office.
Pashinian expressed shock late on Tuesday over the explosion at Beirut port warehouses that sent a devastating blast wave across the Lebanese capital. “We extend out solidarity and support to the brotherly people of Lebanon,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
“Armenia is ready to urgently provide assistance to Lebanon and its people,” Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian tweeted the following morning. “Beirut glory will definitely be restored.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry announced separately that it has set up a working group that will “coordinate the provision of targeted assistance to Lebanon with a Lebanese crisis agency.”
“The Armenian Embassy in Lebanon is in constant touch with relevant Lebanese bodies to jointly assess the needs of the Lebanese side and the scope of assistance,” said the ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalian.
Naghdalian added that the embassy is also assessing the needs of Lebanon’s sizable and influential Armenian community. According to her, at least six Lebanese Armenians were killed and around 100 others injured by the blast which Lebanese leaders say was likely caused by highly explosive material stored at port warehouses.
Naghdalian reported earlier on Wednesday that the blast caused “large-scale devastation” in Beirut’s Armenian-populated neighborhoods. It reportedly damaged the main local cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian telephoned the Lebanese-based Catholicos Aram I, the number two figure in the church’s worldwide hierarchy, to inquire about the damage and the plight of the Lebanese-Armenian community. Sarkissian “expressed readiness to help” the community, according to the presidential press office.