Members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) check a truck destroyed during the port explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 30, 2020. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

42 Chinese peacekeepers helping UNIFIL’s cleaning work at Beirut’s port

UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) chief engineer Li Jiguang said Thursday that 42 Chinese peacekeepers are helping the cleaning of the Beirut port hit by huge explosions.

“The UNIFIL dispatched about 150 peacekeepers and 80 machineries while China sent 42 peacekeepers and 18 machineries, which makes China the biggest contributor in this mission,” Li told Xinhua.

He explained that the mission includes recycling steels and clearing the area, as well as repairing foreign ministry’s building and a nearby 100-year-old civilian structure.

Li told Xinhua that one of the challenges facing UNIFIL troops in their work is the chemicals on the ground which pose a great threat to peacekeepers’ health.

“We need to wear masks and suits to protect ourselves,” he said.

As for UNIFIL Task Force Commanding Officer Jean Fenon, the biggest challenge is the severe destruction and amount of rubble that need to be cleaned.

Fenon explained that many nations have been contributing in this mission, including China, France, Spain, Cambodia and others, for around two more weeks.

“All nations are working as one team,” he added.

Two huge explosions rocked Beirut’s port on Aug. 4, destroying a big part of the city while the country is already reeling under the worst economic and financial crisis in its history.