US says sending immediate $15 mn in food, medicine to Lebanon

© Agence France-Presse

A silo lies in rubble after an explosion in Beirut, raising fears of a bread shortage

Washington (AFP) - The United States said Friday it was sending an immediate $15 million worth of food and medicine to help Lebanon after Beirut's massive port blast.

The aid, to be transported through the US military, amounts to three months' worth of food for 50,000 people and three months' worth of medicine for 60,000 people, the US Agency for International Development said.

"We stand with the people of Lebanon as they seek relief and accountability in this difficult time," USAID said in a statement.

The US military made its first aid delivery on Thursday, with a C-17 plane flying in from Qatar with food, water and medical supplies.

The massive explosion Tuesday killed at least 149 people and also gutted Lebanon's largest grain storage, raising fears of a bread shortage in a country whose economy was already in freefall.

USAID said the assistance was in addition to $41.6 million that the United States has contributed to help Lebanon manage the COVID-19 crisis.

The United States, however, before the blast voiced misgivings about an IMF bailout of Lebanon as Washington presses Beirut to sideline Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian militia and political party.