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Lebanese Cabinet declares state of emergency and forms crisis cell

Beirut, (ST) - The Lebanese Cabinet decided today to declare a two-week state of emergency with the possibility of extending in light of the explosion that hit Beirut port yesterday, asking the military authority to assume responsibility for maintaining security.

Lebanese Minister of information, Manal Abdul Samad, said at a press conference that the Cabinet adopted the statement of the Higher Defense Council, particularly a declaration that Beirut is a disaster-stricken city in addition to forming a crisis cell to follow up this disaster on all levels and forming an Administrative Investigation Committee to investigate into the reasons behind the incident.

The Lebanese Cabinet decided to entrust the army and the High Relief Commission to survey the damages to compensate the affected according to the priority and pay the necessary compensation to the families of the martyrs. The cabinet provided funds for hospitals to treat the wounded in addition to mandating the High Relief Commission to secure shelters for families whose homes are no longer suitable for housing and open schools and hotels to receive citizens and request the Ministry of Public Works to take what is necessary in order to secure import and export operations through ports other than Beirut.

The Lebanese Army Command also called on citizens to evacuate the area of the explosion, which occurred yesterday in the port of Beirut, in front of the rescue operations and raise the damage caused.

In a statement, the leadership asked the owners of houses and properties located in the area surrounding the explosion to abide by the measures taken and to cooperate with the security forces deployed in the place.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese National Media Agency reported that four members of the Lebanese Internal Security and General Security forces were killed in the Beirut port explosion, and 34 were wounded.

The death toll from the massive explosion that rocked Beirut Port on Tuesday reached to more than 100 and more than 4000 wounded person.

Raghda Sawas