Members of a rescue team from Finland are due to arrive in Beirut during Friday, part of a combined EU response to a massive massive chemical explosion which caused widespread destruction over half of the Lebanese capital.
Some of the six Finns will be getting to Beirut on commercial flights through Istanbul, while others will be on a charter flight which includes medical and hygiene supplies, among other equipment needed for their mission.
The Finnish contingent will be operating in a logistics capacity setting up and running the tented camp that other rescuers will need to stay in – and that includes providing administrative support, tech support, and making sure there’s food available for the other international teams.
“We are prepared to work in field conditions in tents. And that’s fine. In Lebanon in August it’s hot” says Pekka Tiainen from the Ministry of Interior.
Finland has also nominated three additional staff to potentially be part of a combined EU expert mission of 11 people heading to Beirut.
Finnish aid being channeled through Red Cross
Since Tuesday evening’s explosion an estimated 300,000 Beirut residents have been left homeless and the city and its infrastructure have been badly damaged.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a statement that they’ll be providing extra financial help for the International Committee of the Red Cross operations in Lebanon, but isn’t yet releasing the exact amount of money which will be given.
“The human emergency and material destruction facing the capital, Beirut, and the entire country are enormous. Finland is involved in supporting Lebanon in this situation together with other EU countries” says foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Green).
“Lebanon is also a country close to Finland through our long-term participation in crisis management and the EU’s southern neighborhood” he adds.
There are currently also around 200 Finnish soldiers in Lebanon participating with UN operations.