Ministers announce new £20m fund to provide urgent humanitarian support to Lebanon after Beirut blast
The UK has announced a further £20m in support for Lebanon (PA)
Ministers have announced a new £20m package to provide urgent humanitarian support to Lebanon following the blast in Beirut.
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the UK was committed to "stand by the Lebanese people" following the major explosion which killed more than 150 people and left as many as 300,000 homeless.
It comes ahead of a major summit of international leaders led by France and the United Nations on Sunday to raise further support for the city following Tuesday's deadly blast.
Authorities in Lebanon have said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse — with the government facing growing protests over their response to the crisis.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Ms Trevelyan said the UK would pledge the funds to the UN's World Food Programme which would go directly to provide urgent resources to the "most vulnerable" people in the country.
"The devastation we have seen in Lebanon this week has left people without homes, medical care and wondering how long it will be until the country's food supplies run out," she said.
"Today the world is coming together to stand by the Lebanese people, and as one of the biggest donors to this crisis so far, the UK is pledging more urgent support to help all those affected by this terrible disaster."
The £20m fund is in addition to a separate £5m aid package announced by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday, of which £3m was given to the British Red Cross for emergency relief.
A team of British specialist medics have already arrived in the country to assess where further UK support should be targeted.
Announcing the funds following talks with Lebanese leaders, Mr Raab said: "We are going to stand by the Lebanese people in their time of need; we are going to provide immediate response and an aid package - an assistance package - search and rescue, humanitarian assistance up to £5m, as well as expert medical support.
"What's crucial at this time is that our support is tailored to the very specific needs that I've just talked through with the Lebanese prime minister."