ANKARA

A Turkish military plane carrying medical aid took off from the capital Ankara Tuesday and headed to Beirut following the deadly blast last week that killed at least 171 people and injured thousands.

“The Turkish Armed Forces A400M aircraft which will deliver medical supplies and equipment along with personnel from AFAD [Disaster and Emergency Management Authority] to Lebanon took off from Ankara Etimesgut Airbase,” Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

The aircraft was sent on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s orders.

Just a day after the blast, an earlier Turkish plane carrying aid and a search and rescue team took off from the capital Ankara for Beirut, arriving early the next day, authorities had announced.

The plane was carrying aid material prepared by the Turkish Health Ministry, AFAD, and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay).

It was carrying 21 National Medical Rescue personnel, two emergency units, three tents, medicine and medical equipment, 10 AFAD personnel, equipment, a search and rescue vehicle, three Kizilay personnel, a search and rescue team, and medical and humanitarian aid.

According to Lebanon’s Health Ministry, at least 171 people have died and over 6,000 are injured since the explosion on Aug. 4 ravaged parts of the Lebanese capital.

The numbers, though, are likely to rise as efforts continue to find missing people.

The tragedy has come at a time when Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis, including a dramatic drop in the value of the pound against the dollar.

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