Aftermath of Beirut explosion
Aftermath of Beirut explosion AZIZ TAHER/ REUTERS

The international community on Sunday pledged timely and sufficient aid, well-coordinated under the leadership of the United Nations, to assist the Lebanese people following last week’s massive explosions at the Beirut port, Xinhua reports.

Following a UN-backed virtual conference, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, representatives from Britain, Qatar, the United States, the European Union, China, the World Bank and others issued a joint statement pledging solidarity with and support to the Lebanese people.

"The participants agreed that their assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people, well-coordinated under the leadership of the United Nations, and directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency," said the statement.

To help Lebanon overcome the tragedy and recover better, "we will need all hands on deck," UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the conference.

"I give my pledge that the United Nations is committed to helping the people of Lebanon in every way we can," she said.

Mohammed called for a focus on support to four priority sectors, health, food, the rehabilitation of buildings and the rehabilitation of schools.

The explosion that hit Beirut's port devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital, claiming over 150 lives and wounding some 6,000 people.

Most Lebanese authorities say Tuesday's explosion was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a shipment of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used as a fertilizer or as an explosive, had languished for years.

However, Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Friday hinted that the blast may have been caused by a bomb or other “external interference.”

On Thursday, a total of 16 employees at the Port of Beirut were detained in connection with the deadly explosion.

The World Bank said following the explosion that it stands ready to assess Lebanon’s damage and needs and will work to help mobilize public and private financing for reconstruction and recovery.