Lebanese President criticised for giving tea gifted by Sri Lanka to his presidential guard


Weeks after a devastating blast ravaged Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, the country’s President Michel Aoun is being slammed on social media for allegedly distributing over 1,600 kilos of tea, donated by Sri Lanka for victims of the blast, amongst members of his presidential guard, AFP reported.

The hashtags #TeaThief and #CeylonTea started trending on Twitter late last month after Aoun’s office announced that the “gift of Ceylon tea had been received by the army…and distributed to the families of soldiers in the presidential guard”.

Earlier, the president’s office had shared a picture of Aoun meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador to Lebanon, who handed over Colombo’s donation of 1,675 kg of Ceylon tea for those affected by the blast.

When Lebanese media began enquiring about the whereabouts of the donation, Aoun’s office stated that the President had already written to his Sri Lankan counterpart to thank him for the gift, AFP reported.

The Lebanese government’s move was widely condemned both online and offline. “The tea was sent to the Lebanese, particularly those affected by the explosion. Of course it wasn’t a present for those who don’t need it,” wrote Paula Yacoubian, a former MP who resigned after the blast in Beirut. “Distributing the aid to your entourage is shameful.”

Meanwhile, the Lebanese government has also come under fire for allegedly mishandling 12 tonnes of fish sent to them by the African nation of Mauritania last month. Faced with countless queries about the relief material, the Lebanese army released a vague message on Monday, stating that it had received the fish and “stored it according to public safety standards”.

The army’s statement added that it had already approached several groups and associations involved in relief work “to cook it and distribute it to those affected by the port blast”, AFP reported.

The August 4 explosion in Beirut rocked Beirut, killing over 190 people and wounding several thousands. The blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of highly volatile ammonium nitrate, which was stored at a warehouse in the city’s port for almost seven years. Soon after the blast, Beirut’s streets were overrun by protesters demanding the resignation of the Lebanese government.

Source: The Indian Express