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

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Kyler Corriveau, of the Eckville area, was found dead on Sunday southeast of Red Deer. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contributed photo).
Young Red Deer homicide victim is remembered as a caring friend

Police are investigating Kyler Corriveau’s untimely death

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Most Read