The International Monetary Fund is exploring all options to help Lebanon deal with the economic fallout of the devastating explosion and has asked the international community to support the country, which was already reeling under the stress of a financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The IMF is exploring all possible ways to support the people of Lebanon,” IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, said in a statement on Thursday evening.
“It is also a time for the international community and the friends of Lebanon to step up to help the country in this moment of urgent need.”
Ms Georgieva's statement follows the World Bank statement earlier on Thursday saying it is ready to do a rapid “damage and needs assessment” and to develop a reconstruction plan for Lebanon as per international standards.
The multilateral lender said it is ready to share lessons and experiences from across the world in managing post-disaster recovery and reconstruction processes.
“The World Bank Group is open to participating actively in a platform with Lebanon’s partners in order to mobilise public and private financial support for reconstruction,” according to the statement.
It would also be “willing to reprogramme existing resources and explore additional financing to support rebuilding lives and livelihoods of people impacted by this disaster," it added.
The explosion, which has been blamed on 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse, killed at least 145 people and injured about 5,000 others.
It is the largest catastrophe of its kind for the country, which emerged from its last civil war in 1990, and exacerbates the economic crisis it is facing.
Beirut before and after explosion
Beirut's Governor Marwan Abboud said the damage from the blast extended across half the city and was estimated to cost $15 billion (Dh55bn).
The country has received an outpouring of support, with aid including food and medical supplies, fuel and rescue workers coming from nations around the world.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Lebanon on Thursday for a snap visit to show support.
"Lebanon is not alone," Mr Macron said on Twitter hours before he landed in the Lebanese capital, where Lebanese President Michel Aoun received him.
The IMF said it was time for national unity - to overcome the disaster, as well as to address the deep economic and social crisis that the country continues to face.
“It is essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms and put in place a meaningful program to turn around the economy and build accountability and trust in the future of the country,” Ms Georgieva said.