The Countess of Wessex has said she is thinking of and praying for all those affected by the blast which hit Beirut earlier this week. Sophie, the first member of the Royal Family to visit Lebanon, sent a message of condolence to the country’s President, Michel Aoun.
The Countess’ message reads:
”I was shocked to hear of the explosion at the port in Beirut and the surrounding area. I have fond memories of the people of Lebanon after visiting your country last year in June. My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic incident, as well as everyone supporting them. My prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
Sophie visited Lebanon in 2019 when she met President Auon. Her time in the country also took her to the Bekaa Valley where she saw the work going on to support Syrian refugees and heard about the United Nations’ World Food Programme in the area. The Countess of Wessex also saw the work of the charity, Caritas, as it helped victims of sexual and gender based violence.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have also sent a message of sympathy to the people of Lebanon. Prince Charles wrote to President Aoun:
”My wife and I wanted you to know how deeply we feel for all the people of Lebanon following the horrific explosion in Beirut which has resulted in the tragic death of so many and caused such unimaginable devastation.
Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved one and all those who have been so terribly injured. However inadequate it may be, we did just want to assure you, dear Mr. President, that you and your people are very much in our thoughts and special prayers at this desperately sad time.”
The Queen sent a message of condolence on August 5th as did royals from across Europe including Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Prince Albert II of Monaco. King Abdullah II of Jordan sent a message as well as ordering the deployment of a field hospital to Beirut to help treat the injured. Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed, who also serves as Vice President of the UAE, sent 30 tonnes of medical equipment to Lebanon. King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ordered that urgent humanitarian aid be sent to Beirut.
At least 137 people lost their lives on August 4th 2020 when a huge blast hit the port of Beirut. Another 5,000 people were injured and dozens are still missing. President Aoun said the explosion was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which was being stored unsafely at a warehouse.