Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was one of a number of high-ranking international officials to offer help to Lebanon in the wake of a devastating explosion that tore through Beirut on Tuesday, leaving at least 100 people dead and injuring thousands more.
“We are closely monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this tragedy,” he said in a statement. “Our team in Beirut has reported to me the extensive damage to a city and a people that I hold dear, an additional challenge in a time of already deep crisis. We understand that the Government of Lebanon continues to investigate its cause and look forward to the outcome of those efforts.”
Pompeo is one of a number of international officials and leaders to offer condolences and assistance to the country after the explosion devastated the city on Tuesday. It was unclear what caused the explosion.
Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse since it was confiscated from a cargo ship impounded in 2013.
President Trump called the massive explosion in Beirut an “attack” and “a bomb of some kind,” but multiple U.S. officials told Fox News that, so far, no evidence suggests that is true.
Trump also offered U.S. assistance: “Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon. I have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help.”
Australia announced it would donate $1.4 million (2 million Australian dollars) in humanitarian assistance to the country. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the funding would go to “trusted aid partners, the World Food Programme and the Red Cross movement, to help to ensure food, medical care and essential items are provided to those affected by this tragedy.”
French President Emmanuel Macron announced he would fly to Beirut, while two planeloads of French rescue workers and aid were expected to arrive Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. Lebanon is a former French protectorate.
It makes France one of a number of European countries to send aid. The European Union is dispatching over 100 firefighters with equipment to help in the rescue effort. A number of countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands are expected to join that effort.
Meanwhile, at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged the world to pray for the country and its people.
“Let us pray for the victims, for their families; and let us pray for Lebanon so that, through the dedication of all its social, political and religious elements, it might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing,” the pontiff said at an audience.
Israel, which has had a troubled relationship with Lebanon for decades over Lebanon’s close ties to the militant group Hezbollah, offered the government humanitarian and medical assistance, according to Reuters.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.