Wollongong will fly the Lebanese flag outside its council headquarters, as a way to express the city's sympathy to people affected by the massive blast which last week devastated part of Lebanon's capital.
Moving her first Lord Mayoral minute while acting in the position, Labor councillor Tania Brown suggested the city find a way to express "deep sympathy to Lebanese community of Wollongong".
Her motion, which was supported unanimously, suggested that the council express its sympathy to the Lebasnese community in Wollongong and arrange for the flag to be flown at its community flagpole on Burelli Street.
"I know you all would share with me our grief and shock at the explosion in Beirut," she said.
"I know that many in our community would have family in Lebanon and would be feeling this loss quite sincerely.
"With 220 deaths and a young two-year-old Australian boy among them, and then 7000 injured and 300,000 now homeless, it's hard to fathom."
Liberal councillor Leigh Colacino added to the motion, suggesting the council also write to Australia's Lebanese ambassador to pass on Wollongong's thoughts to the community of Beirut.
Northern suburbs councillor Jenelle Rimmer said her thoughts went out to people in Beirut and their loved ones in Wollongong.
So a virtual hug from our city to those in Beirut is all we can offer along with our thoughts and best wishes.
"It's important that we show our support and compassion to those in Lebanon, but also to those residents here in our city," she said.
"I know that no comfort can compare to that of a compassionate hug and we can't do those at the moment.
"So a virtual hug from our city to those in Beirut is all we can offer along with our thoughts and best wishes."
Both Dom Figliomeni and Ann Martin also spoke in support of the motion, but said they hoped Wollongong could also offer more amid the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Lebanon.
"The grief suffered by the Lebanese community is much greater than just the deaths and the 300,000 plus that have been left homeless. The Lebanese community is suffering enormously. Medicine is in short supply, food is in short supply.
"This was just another unfortunate catastrophe on the Lebanese community."
He said flying the flag was "the least we can do", and said Wollongong council needed to look at how we can assist the Lebanese community more broadly.
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