Cyprus has sent in two rescue teams with specially trained dogs to help emergency services on the ground in Beirut to find survivors trapped under collapsed buildings following a massive blast in the Lebanese capital.
Nicosia has also pledged to dispatch medical equipment and aid to Beirut as part of an international campaign to help Lebanon recover from the shock and destruction.
Cyprus police told the Financial Mirror that two helicopters took off from Larnaca on Wednesday afternoon carrying two emergency teams of five and eight rescue dogs.
“One team is made up from five members of the Police Emergency Response Unit, and another five from the Disaster Emergency Response Unit which is under the Fire Department,” said a police official.
He clarified that the officers are to assist rescue crews on the ground in Beirut trying to find possible survivors trapped under rubble.
It is still unknown how many people are trapped or missing in the debris, but Lebanon is sending out calls for help.
“There are many people missing. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity,” Health Minister Hamad Hasan told reporters.
Apart from the Cyprus contingent, international rescue in the form of emergency workers and medical personnel were also heading to Lebanon as pledges from countries continued to roll in.
Russia’s emergency officials said the country will send five planeloads of aid to Beirut, including rescuers, medical workers, a makeshift hospital, and a lab for coronavirus testing.
France plans to send two planes with dozens of emergency workers, a mobile medical unit and 15 tonnes of aid.
French peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon, have been helping since the explosions, as reported from French President Emanuel Macron’s office.
Jordan vowed to dispatch a military field hospital including all necessary personnel.
Egypt has opened a field hospital in Beirut to receive the wounded.
The Czech Republic has pledged to send a team of 37 rescuers with dogs to Beirut.