Deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re on Monday underlined Italy's "full solidarity" with Lebanon and with Beirut where a massive explosion last week killed at least 220 people, injured 5,000 and left over 20,000 homeless in the bankrupt country's capital.
"Italians are shocked and worried and stand shoulder to shoulder with the Lebanese people. We immediately readied a humanitarian response," Del Re stated, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Del Rel was addressing a videoconference on Lebanon organised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The meeting was chaired by UN humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock and opened by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.
In her address, Del Re "reiterated Italy's full solidarity with Lebanon and the city of Beirut that has been so badly affected by the explosion of 4 August, which worsened the already especially complex humanitarian situation in Lebanon," said the statement.
Besides 8.5 tonnes of crucial humanitarian aid, flights from Italy to Lebanon on 5 and 6 August transported chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts, according to the statement.
"We are ready to step up our response to appeals and requests from UN agencies, from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent," the statement concluded.
Lebanon's government resigned on Monday after three days of riots due to public anger over last Tuesday's explosion at Beirut's port. The blast is believed to have been caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years.