Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the São Paulo Air Base today (Aug. 12) attended the takeoff of the Brazilian entourage departing on a special mission for Beirut, Lebanon. The Brazilian government is sending humanitarian help to the country, in response to the explosions that hit the port of the Lebanese capital on August 4. The return of the entourage is expected to take place next Saturday (15).
Airplane KC-390 of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) was loaded with 6 tons of materials, among which medications, health care and food supplies, donated by the Health Ministry and by the Lebanese community in Brazil. Another FAB aircraft, Embraer 190, is carrying entourage members, among them former President Michel Temer, son of Lebanese parents, spearheading the entourage, and President of the São Paulo Industry Federation (Fiesp) Paulo Skaf.
The two planes took off in São Paulo headed for Fortaleza, Ceará, where the first technical interval is to take place. Next, they proceed to Sal Island, Cape Verde, then to Valencia, Spain. Only then will they fly to Beirut. Their arrival should be on Thursday afternoon (13).
In addition to the special humanitarian mission, the Brazilian government is supporting the country through the National Risk and Disaster Management Center (Cenad) and the National Space Research Institute (Inpe), which continue to collaborate in the process of putting together maps with satellite images of Beirut for emergency post-disaster mapping activities.
The explosions in the port region of Beirut were caused by problems in the storage of around 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a substance used in the production of explosives and fertilizers. The event brought panic and destruction to the Lebanese capital and left over a hundred people dead and thousands injured and forced out of their homes, many with severe burns. The impact of the biggest blast was felt in Cyprus, over 200 km off the Lebanese coast.
The port of Beirut was the main place for the storage of grains, and the explosion left the Lebanese with less than a month’s worth of food reserves. Lebanon is home to 6.8 million people.