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4 Finnish TAST members to return from Lebanon

Published : 13 Aug 2020, 00:55

  DF Report

Photo taken on Aug. 12, 2020 shows damaged buildings in the wake of the explosions at the Port of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. Photo Xinhua.

Four out of the six members of the Finn Rescue – Technical Assistance and Support Team (TAST) who were sent to Beirut are now returning to Finland, said the interior ministry in a press release of on Wednesday.

The team rushed to Beirut on 7 August following the 4 august twin deadly blasts at the Beirut Port.

Two members of the team will continue to work in the assistance mission. In addition, Finland sent a senior specialist to the EU expert team in Beirut, which will continue its work in the region.

“The expertise and assistance of the Finns in Lebanon has been important immediately after the extremely serious accident in Beirut. I would like to thank the civil protection experts who are returning to Finland and those who are still in Beirut for their work to help the victims of the accident,” said Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.

Since Lebanon is one of the so-called high-risk countries, the experts returning to Finland will be quarantined to prevent any possible spread of coronavirus.

One of the tasks of the Finnish experts staying in Lebanon is to support the team coordinating international aid. The main focus of the tasks of the EU expert team has shifted from rescue operations to the reception of material and financial assistance and, for example, the assessment of environmental damage.

“The mission in Beirut demonstrates once again that Finnish expertise in civil protection is appreciated internationally. This is exactly how we are also strengthening our national competence in dealing with demanding accidents and incidents,” said Rescue Services Director General Kimmo Kohvakka.

Lebanon requested international assistance from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, where Finland is a member, to deal with the explosion that took place in Beirut on 4 August. In response, Finland sent expert and material assistance to Beirut.