Bangladesh has decided to send a medical team, emergency food and primary medical supplies to Lebanon as twin explosions devastated its capital Beirut on Tuesday evening.
Bangladesh stands ready to provide any emergency support to Lebanon, if necessary, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen talked to Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe on Wednesday and expressed sympathies and condolences over the incident and damages.
He expressed gratitude to the government of Lebanon for providing necessary supports, including treatment to Bangladeshis injured in the explosions.
At least four Bangladeshi citizens were killed and 79 injured in the incident. Twenty-one Bangladesh Navy personnel are among the injured.
Bangladesh Embassy in Beirut confirmed the death of four Bangladeshis citing hospital sources while the ISPR confirmed the injuries of the Bangladesh Navy personnel.
The deceased were identified as Mehdi Hasan Roni, hailing from Brahmanbaria, Mizan from Madaripur, Rezaul from Cumilla and Rasel Miah from Brahmanbaria.
The Embassy also urged all to inform it through its hotline number if they come to know of any more casualties.
Some 1,50,000 Bangladesh nationals work in a number of sectors in Lebanon.
In a video message, Bangladesh Ambassador to Lebanon Major General Md Jahangir Al Mustahidur Rahman said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is getting updated information on overall situation in Lebanon.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry are giving necessary directives on treatment, financial support to Bangladeshis and other issues.
Investigators began searching the wreckage of Beirut’s port on Wednesday for clues to the cause of the massive explosions that ripped across the Lebanese capital as the government ordered port officials put under house arrest, reports AP.
International aid flights began to arrive, as Lebanon’s leaders struggled to deal with the aftermath of Tuesday’s blast, crippled by an economic crisis and facing a public where many already blame chronic mismanagement and corruption among the ruling elite for the disaster.
The explosion at the port killed at least 100 people and wounded thousands. Hospitals were overwhelmed — one that was damaged in the blast had to evacuate all its patients to a nearby field for treatment.
Buildings were damaged for miles around the city, and Beirut’s governor said Wednesday that hundreds of thousands might not be able to return to their homes for two or three months.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved additional US$3 million in grant assistance for procuring urgently needed medical supplies for emergency response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Bangladesh.
The Government of Japan is financing the grant assistance sourced from the ADB-administered Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, according to an ADB release.
“The assistance will help alleviate the government’s urgent financial, logistical, and other constraints to meet immediate needs and deliver appropriate medical services,” ADB Country Director in Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash said.
He said that the grant will finance the procurement of essential medicines, medical equipment and infection control supplies required for COVID-19 emergency response.
“ADB is committed to supporting Bangladesh to minimize the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and help accelerate the post-pandemic socio-economic recovery of the country,” Parkash added.
The new assistance builds on ADB’s previous support of around $603 million in loans and grants to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.
ADB on 7 May approved $500 million loan to bolster the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy and the public health.
On 30 April, ADB approved a $100 million concessional emergency loan to support Bangladesh’s efforts to address the immediate public health requirements of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADB also released a $350,000 emergency grant for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, and $1.3 million from an existing project to provide one-time cash support to 22,619 trainees to enable them to continue their ongoing skills training program.
In addition, $231,178 in grant was provided to augment COVID-19 related facilities in 134 urban primary healthcare centers, also called Nogor Swastho Kendro, across the country.
Since February, ADB’s emergency assistance grants to its developing members have helped ensure the supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.
In April, ADB announced a $20 billion comprehensive response package to help its developing member countries address the immediate and long-term macroeconomic and health impacts of COVID-19 in the region. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about its ongoing response.
Bangladeshi Md Rayhan Kabir will be deported once the Attorney General's Chambers completes the investigation into the case, said Malaysian Immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud on Wednesday.
"I cannot estimate when (Md Rayhan will be repatriated) but the earliest flight to Bangladesh will be on Aug 31," he told a press conference, reported Malaysian daily New Straits Times.
Rayhan was arrested in Setapak of Kuala Lumpur, on July 24 after the Immigration Department sought people's assistance to track down the individual in Al Jazeera documentary.
Mohammad Rayhan Kabir was arrested in Malaysia for speaking out on discrimination faced by undocumented migrant workers at the hands of the authorities during the COVID-19 lockdown, in a documentary broadcast by Qatar-based Al Jazeera.
Khairul Dzaimee said that Md Rayhan's temporary visitor's pass was also revoked and he would be blacklisted from ever coming to Malaysia again.
Meanwhile, Malaysian authorities conducted a drive at Kuala Lumpur office of Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera and seized two computers on Tuesday, as part of the ongoing investigation over a documentary report aired by the channel.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) also raided the offices of two local broadcasters, Astro and Unifi TVs, reports Malaysian daily The Straits Times.
Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh Ito Naoki and Secretary to Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance Fatima Yasmin on Wednesday signed exchange of notes of the COVID-19 crisis response emergency support loan as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) of Japan to Bangladesh.
This financial assistance is provided in the form of a loan through JICA, in the amount of 35 billion yen, approximately US$ 330 million, with very favorable terms (0.01% interest rate and an 11-year repayment period after the grace period of four years), said the Embassy.
The government of Japan hopes that spread of the coronavirus in Bangladesh will be brought to an end soon and that the financial support will contribute to a return to the remarkable development of Bangladesh over the past decade.
The loan will be cofinanced with ADB to enable rapid and effective utilization of the loan to counter the new corona.
Earlier, the government of Japan provided approximately US$13 million as the emergency support to tackle COVID-19 in Bangladesh through international organizations, and provided PPE to hospitals through JICA.
Additionally, on July 16, Japan and Bangladesh signed the Exchange of Notes on Japanese Grant aid “Economic and Social Development Programme”（approximately USD 10 million） for the medical equipment including CT Scanner, X-ray Machine.
These aids are focused on the medical and health sectors currently combating the novel coronavirus.
The purpose of the financial assistance signed today is to provide funding for additional financial expenditure by the Government of Bangladesh to implement the economic stimulus package.
Unlike project loans, which are commonly used, this aid is very flexible in its use with the only conditions being a prohibition on items such as military use, said the Embassy.
This is the first time in the history of ODA that such a loan has been provided in this form for the continuation of the government of Bangladesh.