Rescuers continued a desperate hunt for survivors in ruined Beirut on Tuesday as it emerged the Lebanese capital was hit by the equivalent of a nuclear blast.
A state of emergency was in place as the death toll from Tuesday’s explosion hit 135 with more than 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless.
However, something is different about those arriving on Lampedusa. Rather than the queues of young males, as in 2011 during the Arab Spring, it is middle-class families with their children and pets packing into the vans.
“I lost my job as a hairdresser. I have no money and came here to seek medical care for my son,” said Nedia Neffeti, 34, a well-dressed divorcée who was trying to comfort her eight-year-old autistic son. “No one has told us where we are going.”
Online newspaper El Confidencial said the former head of state was in Portugal, where he spent part of his youth, at the town of Azeitao, 18 miles south of the capital Lisbon.
He was ‘staying with the Brito e Cunha-Espirito Santo family that he has maintained friendly relations with’ since his own family’s exile during the Franco dictatorship.
According to a report by Georgia health officials and the CDC, the outbreak occurred in late June and was identified after a teenage staff member developed symptoms. After testing 344 attendees, 260 were found to be positive.
Equally troubling, according to the report, was the fact that – contrary to earlier theories about the spread of the disease in children – younger children, as well as those who spent longer at the camp, appeared more likely to be infected.
However, Americans largely disagree with the president on his defence of the US response to the pandemic. In a survey published by NPR/Ipsos on Tuesday, two-thirds of respondents said they believed the US was handling the pandemic worse than other countries.
A majority of those surveyed also supported more aggressive measures to battle the rise of infections.