NNA - The Council of ministers convened in an extraordinary session, headed by President Michel Aoun and attended by the Prime Minister, and Ministers, among which the Minister of Justice was absent.
After speeches delivered by the President, and Prime Minister, the cabinet studied a series of measures to confront the repercussions of the big explosion which occurred yesterday, at the Port of Beirut.
After deliberation and discussion, the Council of Ministers took the following decisions:
First: Adopting what was issued in the statement of the Supreme Defense Council, held August 4, 2020, especially in terms of:
- Declaration of Beirut as a disaster city.
- According to Article 3 of the Defense Law No. 102 and Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Legislative Decree No.52 dated 5/8/1967, declaring a state of emergency in Beirut for a renewable period of two weeks, which is from 4/8/2020 till 18/8/2020. The competent authorities exercise the powers stipulated in legislative Decree No. 52/1968 and according to Article 3 of this Legislative Decree, the Supreme Military Authority shall immediately assume the authority to maintain security and place all armed forces at its disposal, including the Internal Security Forces, General Security, State Security, Customs and armed forces in ports, and airport, armed guard units, including firefighters. These forces perform their basic duties and missions in accordance with their own laws and under the command of the Supreme Military Command. The Supreme Military Authority also chooses to assign elements of these special forces related to security operations, guarding sensitive points and rescue operations.
- The Council also adopted: Supplying funds for hospitals to cover hospital expenses for the wounded and injured.
- Paying necessary compensations to families of martyrs, provided that their value will be later determined.
- Supplying wheat quantities after the wheat was damaged in the warehouse.
- Requesting the Public Works and Transport Ministry to take necessary steps to secure import and export operations through other ports, like Sidon and Tripoli ports.
- Forming a crisis cell to follow-up on the repercussions of this disaster at all levels, consisting of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Economy Minister, Public Works Minister, Interior and Municipalities Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and the Army Commander.
- Restricting flour sale to ovens only.
- Contacting all countries and their embassies to secure the necessary aid and donations and establishing a special fund for this purpose.
- Mandating the Higher Relief Commission to secure accommodation for families whose houses are no longer suitable for living in, and contacting the Education Minister to open schools to receive these families and with the Tourism Minister to use hotel for this purpose or for any purpose related to relief operations.
- Setting a mechanism for importing glass and controlling prices of materials that are used to repair damages.
Second: The Council of Ministers committed to take all necessary measures and procedures to rebuild Beirut as it was before.
Third: Requesting security apparatuses to ensure that the crime scene is not tampered with in order to prevent its features from being lost or.
Fourth: extension of the time limit specified in resolution No. 18 of 10/6/2020 for an additional period of two months, effective from 10/8/2020.
Fifth: Opening an extraordinary appropriation of 100 Billion Lebanese Pounds in support of Article 85 of the Constitution and Article 8 of the Law Implementing Judgment no. 6 of 5/3/2020 (The National Budget and attached budgets for the year 2020).
Sixth: Forming an administrative investigation committee headed by the President, with membership of Minister of Defense, Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, Army Commander, Director-General of the Internal Security Forces, Director-General of General Security, Director-General of State Security, whose task will be to conduct an investigation into the causes that led to the occurrence of the catastrophe and submitting a report of the result of the Council of Ministers within a maximum period of five days from its date, and to submit this report to the competent judicial authorities to take the maximum levels of sanctions against those who are proven responsible, provided that this does not prevent the Cabinet from adopting the right against them as it deems appropriate measures or procedures.
Seventh: Assigning the army with the Higher relief Commission to conduct an immediate and comprehensive survey of the afflicted and affected areas in preparation for the immediate payment of urgent compensation to those who are entitled to it, according to priority needs.
Eighth: Establishment of 4 government field hospitals (2 Beirut, 1 Al-Dora, and 1 in Al-Hadath).
Ninth: In light of the state of emergency declared on 5/8/2020 and the Law of National Defense and other Laws, the Supreme Military Authority is required to impose house arrest and custody on anyone who managed affairs of storing the 2750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate, and guarding, examining and investigating the file, from June 2014 until this date of the explosion on August 4, 2020.—Presidency Press Office