Polish rescue mission off to Beirut

Mateusz Marek/PAP

A team of rescuers with search dogs, medical personnel and humanitarian aid experts set off from Warsaw to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Wednesday evening to aid victims of a Tuesday explosion in the city which killed at least 135 people and injured about 5,000.

Informing about the mission at a Wednesday press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said Poland was also sending medicines and first-aid materials to the city.

Jablonski said the mission included 43 rescuers with four dogs, a six-strong medical team and five humanitarian aid specialists.

Earlier on Wednesday Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz discussed Poland's aid options to Beirut with Lebanese counterpart Charbel Wehbe.

The Polish Embassy in Beirut has said it has no knowledge of Polish victims of the blast.

On Thursday Jablonski said that Poland will probably send further aid to Beirut.

According to Lebanese authorities, the explosion occurred during welding work in a harbour depot containing unsecured ammonium nitrate. It was so strong it could be heard in Cyprus, 240 kilometres away from Beirut.

On Wednesday the Lebanese Red Cross informed that the blast killed at least a hundred people and injured at least four thousand.