U.S. forces are working to bring aid to the people of Beirut, Lebanon, after a port explosion killed at least 135 and wounded about 5,000 more on Tuesday.
“The U.S. is actively engaged in delivering food, water, and medical supplies to the Lebanese Armed Forces to meet the critical needs of the Lebanese people,” said, Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, in a statement.
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III was the first to make a humanitarian aid delivery to Lebanon today, CENTCOM reported. Piloted by members of the 816th Air Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, the flight delivered 11 pallets of food, water, and medical supplies out of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
Two more C-17s are expected to bring more supplies some time in the next day.
The Lebanese government declared a two-week state of emergency on Tuesday, blaming the explosion on 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that were improperly stored in a warehouse for six years, the BBC reported.
“We are closely coordinating with the Lebanon Armed Forces, and expect that we will continue to provide additional assistance throughout Lebanon’s recovery effort,” McKenzie said.
CENTCOM officials did not immediately respond to questions about other efforts the command is making in response to the unfolding tragedy in Lebanon or what the command’s tactical and strategic concerns are given its location in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
Harm Venhuizen is an editorial intern at Military Times. He is studying political science and philosophy at Calvin University, where he's also in the Army ROTC program.