The European Union announced Thursday that it had released €33 million to finance initial emergency aid for Lebanon and mobilised material resources to help relief efforts in Beirut. On Tuesday, a massive explosion killed hundreds and wounded thousands in Beirut, a city still scarred by its civil war three decades ago.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but officials said the site of the blast in the port area of the city was housing highly explosive materials. Up to a quarter of a million people were left without homes fit to live in.

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