Countries across the world continue offering help as Lebanon confronts destruction caused by the massive Beirut blast.
The Greek Air Force’s C-130 plane with a group of rescuers on board took off for the devastated Lebanese capital on Wednesday morning.
The aircraft carries 13 members of the first special disaster management unit, a rescue dog, two vehicles and special equipment.
“Our country has immediately responded to the Lebanese government’s request through the European Civil Protection Mechanism to send assistance to deal with the consequences of the deadly explosion that occurred in Beirut on Aug. 4.
“A search and rescue team from fire department departed (for Beirut) in the morning,” Greece’s General Secretariat of Civil protection said.
The secretariat remains in constant contact with both the Lebanese authorities and the European Civil Protection Mechanism to provide further assistance if necessary.The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also offered help and extended condolences to the families of the victims.
“China is ready to provide assistance to Lebanon within its capabilities to… deal with this incident,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing.
In addition, Poland has offered concrete help.
The state’s Fire Service is ready to dispatch a search and rescue team consisting of 39 rescuers, four dogs and, if necessary, chemical protection specialists as early as Wednesday.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has ordered sending a military field hospital to the neighboring country, according to the PETRA news agency.
Qatar and Iraq earlier reported that they will also send field hospitals to Lebanon.
The massive explosion hit Beirut on Tuesday evening, with about 100 people killed and over 4,000 injured, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.
The city governor has said that half of the city’s buildings were damaged and hospitals are overcrowded due to the large influx of injured patients.
Many more victims are feared to remain under the rubble.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/worldwide-offers-of-help-keep-coming-as-death-toll-in-beirut-blast-rises/
Edo election: Group lauds committee over peace accord
Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has commended Rtd. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar-led Peace Committee for making political parties and their candidates in the Saturday Edo election to sign a peace accord.
The organisation also thanked the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, for calling the political parties and their candidates to order.
The group’s Executive Director, Ms Faith Nwadishi, made the commendation in a pre-election statement in Abuja on Friday.
Nwadishi said that the advice by the Oba for a peaceful election should be a reference point in Nigeria’s election history.
She called for deployment of more health personnel to polling areas to guide people on the election day.
“Strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol is imperative while Personal Protective Equipment at the polling areas are mandatory and should be enforced.
“The INEC’s directives on special treatment for nursing mothers, pregnant women and the elderly should be adhered to by ad hoc staff on the field,” she said.
Nwadishi said her organisation had deployed observers across the state to cover the elections “and we shall be sharing reports with the media and on our social media handles as they come in.
“CTA calls on all eligible and registered citizens to come out and vote for candidates of their choice as it is their right to do so. Your vote is your power and must count,” she added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
Flooding: Sultan visits Kebbi, seeks FG’s urgent assistance for victims
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Friday sympathised with the Kebbi Government and its people over the recent flood disaster in the state.
The Sultan, who paid a sympathy visit to Gov. Atiku Bagudu in Birnin Kebbi, called on the Federal Government to assist all states ravaged by flood, as well as the victims.
“We came to visit the cemetery of Sheikh Abdullahi Gwandu and pray for the deceased, as well as showcase the importance of visiting the cemetery of pious people, to observe lessons and be a reminder to us that death is certain.
“Hence, we should correct our mistakes and do good deeds for ourselves and humanity.”
Abubakar also sympathised with the state government and the people of the state over the recent flood that wreaked havoc on farmlands, houses and resulted in the deaths of many people in the state.
“We are also here to sympathise with the government, our brothers and sisters, who have been affected by the recent floods in the state.
“We should know that the flood is an act from Allah, but measures should be taken as we are calling on the Federal, State Governments and well- to- do individuals, to assist farmers in all the affected states of the federation.
“Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger are all states with similar socio- cultural and economic backgrounds; the boundary delineation and politics should not divide us, as we are one.
“We should pray for our leaders in those states and country at large for peace to reign, and for economic prosperity to our people,” the royal father said.
The Sultan commended the four emirs in the state and the state government for their untiring efforts to ensure the maintenance of peace in Kebbi.
In his remarks, Gov. Bagudu informed the Sultan that the flood was unprecedented in the history of the state, adding that over 500,000 hectares of farmlands were affected by the flood.
“We are assuring the victims that the Federal Government will not leave us alone, as the state has started receiving assistance from philanthropists; we are sure that more will come.
“We are also committed to the dry season farming, and we are determined to replace what we have lost to flood, as soon as the water recedes,” he said.
The governor thanked the Sultan for the visit and also condoled him over the death of the District Head of Aliero, Alhaji Salihu Muhammad II, who died today.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Sultan was accompanied on the visit by the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Bashir Muhammad and Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera.
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/ Maharazu Ahmed
Solskjaer criticises England over handling of youngster Greenwood
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday criticised England’s handling of Mason Greenwood for breaking COVID-19 rules.
Greenwood’s first England call-up ended with him being disciplined for breaking COVID-19 rules.
A video footage had showed Greenwood and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden allegedly inviting women to their hotel rooms after England’s 1-0 UEFA Nations League win over Iceland.
The match was played in Reykjavik and both players were sent home.
England manager Gareth Southgate said the duo would have to regain his trust before they can be considered for selection again.
Solskjaer stressed that Greenwood should have been rested after his breakthrough season with the club.
“I’ve spoken to Mason. What we speak about and discuss will be between the two of us,” Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Saturday’s English Premier League (EPL) clash against Crystal Palace.
“The kid had a fantastic season, just come through. I’ve worked and the club worked hard. We gave Mason enough time on the pitch, exposure in the media.
“Then you come to the end of the season, we’ve had less than two weeks off and he’s called up.
“And first thing that happens he’s called up and right there in the press… We’ve done what we can to protect him. I’ve done what I can to help him,’’ he added.
Manchester United’s off-season was also disrupted by club captain Harry Maguire’s suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days.
Maguire was accused of various charges following an alleged brawl during a family holiday on the island of Mykonos in Greece.
The 27-year-old England defender has maintained his innocence and was granted a full retrial after appealing against the verdict.
Solskjaer, however, said that the incident could be on Maguire’s mind as he returns to the pitch.
“Knowing Harry, he’s a very strong character and can put that apart. But as a human being it’ll be in the back of his mind,” he said.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Olawale Alabi)
UN urges Belarus to grant entry to UN rights expert
Belarus should grant free access to specialised UN experts to monitor human rights issues, including prisons, the UN Human Rights Council urges in a resolution.
In addition to demanding entry for UN Belarus monitor Anais Marin, the Human Rights Council also calls on Belarus to stop using violence, torture and arrests to quash civil rights.
The resolution, which was initiated by European countries says Belarus authorities should start a dialogue with the opposition and civil society.
The resolution was adopted with 23 yes votes, two no votes from Eritrea and Venezuela, and 22 abstentions.
Similarly, Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, appealed to the UN on Friday for an international monitoring mission to be sent to Belarus to document an ongoing violent police crackdown on her supporters.
“The scope and the brutality of the extensive force used by the regime is in clear violation of all international norms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN,” Tikhanovskaya said in an address to the UN Human Rights Council.
At least 7,000 protesters have been detained in Belarus since a disputed presidential election more than a month ago.
The UN has received 450 reports of torture and other abuse of detainees.
President Alexander Lukashenko, 66, has led Belarus, a former Soviet republic between Russia and EU member state Poland, for more than a quarter-century, tolerating little dissent.
Tikhanovskaya placed second in the Aug. 9 election, according to the disputed official tally.
She says she won and has demanded a new election. There have been protests in Belarus every day since the vote.
“We demand … an international monitoring mission to document the regime’s atrocities,” Tikhanovskaya, 38, told a special meeting of the UN council via video link.
She dismissed the Belarusian leadership’s allegations that, by seeking to intervene in Belarus’ post-election crisis, foreign powers have been meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
“It is very important to recognise that standing up for democratic principles and human rights is not interfering in internal affairs.
“It is a universal question of human dignity,” Tikhanovskaya said.
The UN Human Rights Council held the urgent debate in spite diplomats from Belarus and its close allies trying to prevent reports on violations from being presented at the meeting in Geneva.
“It is vital for the future of Belarus to break these cycles of increasing repression and violence,” Deputy UN Rights Chief Nada al-Nashif said.
“Civil society is a valuable partner, not a threat,” she added.
After al-Nashif’s speech, envoys from Belarus, Russia, Venezuela and China raised a long series of points of order to complain that the UN official had been allowed to speak, and to stop additional reports from a UN rights investigator and from Belarusian civil society representatives.
The Austrian diplomat, who presides over the Human Rights Council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, finally issued a ruling to stop these interventions.
Belarusian Ambassador Yury Ambrazevic rejected all accusations voiced in the council, which heard video messages from the foreign ministers of Denmark, Slovakia, Poland, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
“We believe it is not acceptable to use this body here to interfere in the election in any individual country,” Ambrazevic said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ifeyinwa Omowole