Rescue workers, top, and soldiers with investigators, bottom, work at the site of last week’s explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Rescue workers, top, and soldiers with investigators, bottom, work at the site of last week’s explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

The federal government will match all individual donations from Canadians to humanitarian relief efforts in Lebanon following this week’s deadly explosion in Beirut.

International Development Minister Karina Gould says Canadians can help the Lebanese people who have lost loved ones, been injured or lost homes from the explosion by giving generously.

“Concerted humanitarian action is required to meet the immediate needs of people impacted by the blast, including health care food, shelter and water,” she said.

“My message to Canadians is this: the best way that you can help is to donate money, and for your contribution to be matched by the government of Canada, donations must be made to the humanitarian coalition or one of its partners.”

Donations made by Canadians before Aug. 24 to the Humanitarian Coalition — a group of 12 established aid organizations working on the ground in Lebanon — or to one of the coalition’s members will be matched by the federal government, up to a maximum of $2 million.

This matching fund is part of $5 million in emergency aid pledged by Ottawa earlier this week after Tuesday’s blast in Lebanon’s capital. Another $1.5 million of aid has been earmarked for the Lebanese Red Cross.

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government, to ensure the assistance goes to those in need, Gould said.

“What we are focused on right now is responding to the emergency at hand, working through trusted NGOs and international partners that are operating on the ground to make sure that we’re getting the assistance to the Lebanese people in need, the most vulnerable, so that we can save lives, so that we can protect the vulnerable and make sure that we are helping them get through this crisis as fast as possible.”

Earlier this week, Gould told reporters any direct aid to the government of Lebanon would only come with “significant fiscal and political reforms” in light of widespread domestic and international concerns about corruption and poor governance in the country.

The country is led by a political ruling class, made up mostly of former civil war-era leaders, and it is now being blamed for incompetence and mismanagement that contributed to Tuesday’s explosion.

This has sparked protests of anger, which led to clashes between security forces and demonstrators Saturday in central Beirut.

The blast is believed to have happened when a fire touched off a stockpile of 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that authorities left sitting in a warehouse for years – despite years of repeated warnings from officials that it posed a danger.

The Aug. 4 explosion has left at least 150 people dead, and thousands injured. More than 300,000 people have lost their homes.

Bill Chambers, president and CEO of Save the Children, one of the Humanitarian Coalition’s member organizations, says he hopes Canada’s matching fund program will encourage Canadians to seize the opportunity to double the size of their donations.

“This horrific incident could not have occurred at a worse time and has hit communities that were already suffering from the impact of COVID-19 and the economic deterioration in Lebanon,” he said.

“Over 100,000 children are now homeless and in need of immediate care.”

Even before the explosion, thousands of people were struggling to feed themselves and their families due to an economic and financial crisis in the country. The explosion has only worsened the situation on the ground for the most vulnerable, Chambers said.

“What is needed in the immediate emergency to keep these people alive is funds, dollars that can be, first of all, matched by the Canadian government and can be put to the most urgent needs in the moment, on the ground,” he said.

Gould says Canada has so far received 64 requests for assistance from Canadians in Lebanon, but due to privacy concerns she could not share details except that these requests have included inquiries about consular support.

“Canadian-based and locally engaged staff in Beirut are regrouping and the embassy will be open again on Monday, Aug. 10,” Gould said.

— With files from The Associated Press

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

federal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read