The US pledged over $17 million in initial disaster aid for Lebanon after an explosion devastated Beirut

beirut aftermath
Members of the rescue team walk at the damaged site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 8, 2020. Hannah McKay/Reuters
  • The United States has pledged over $17 million in initial disaster aid for Lebanon following the massive explosion at a Beirut port on Tuesday.

  • The explosion left more than 150 dead, thousands injured, and leveled a large portion of the city.

  • President Donald Trump raised eyebrows hours after the explosion when he said it was an "attack," but his administration has since walked back that comment.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The United States has pledged over $17 million in initial disaster aid for Lebanon, following Tuesday's Beirut port explosion, the US embassy said on Friday.

It said in a statement that the aid included food assistance, medical supplies, and financial assistance for the Lebanese Red Cross. "Announcements of additional aid and assistance are forthcoming," it added.

The explosion killed more than 150 people and injured thousands more, Reuters previously reported. Officials have said the blast was an accident involving 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was improperly stored in a warehouse.

President Donald Trump raised eyebrows earlier this week when he said hours after the attack that he had spoken with "generals," who "seem to think [the explosion] was an attack."

But by the next day, Trump had softened on his conclusions about the explosion, telling reporters Wednesday evening, "whatever happened, it's terrible but they don't really know what it is."

Lebanese authorities launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion amid reports in the aftermath of the blast said that authorities had been warned about the stock of explosives since it arrived at the port in 2014.

Business Insider's Ryan Pickrell previously reported that the explosion registered as a magnitude 3.3 earthquake, and experts say it most likely had an explosive yield of several hundred tons of TNT equivalent.

Trump spoke with Lebanon's President Michel Aoun on Friday, where he expressed sympathy for the country's recovery from the attack. On a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Trump's offer of sympathy for the country, promising "our steadfast commitment to assist the Lebanese people as they cope with the aftermath of this terrifying event."

Read more:

Lebanese officials unloaded a 'floating bomb' and apparently ignored warnings for years, according to reports

The deadly explosion that devastated Beirut appears to have been far more powerful than the 'Mother of All Bombs'

A video of bride posing in her wedding dress captured the moment a massive explosion tore through Beirut

Read the original article on Insider