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

An air ambulance carrying a suspected injured longboarder takes off from a Spallumcheen property near Otter Lake Road Saturday, April 17. (Richard Breaks photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Spallumcheen sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in the township

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Vernon man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Armaan Dhaliwal hands a cheque for $500 to Shuswap Hospital Foundation president Angie Spencer as his proud grandparents Gordie and Nancy Dhaliwal watch on Friday, April 16. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm boy’s samosa sales benefit hospital foundation

Armaan Dhaliwal was able to give the Shuswap Hospital Foundation a $500 donation

School District 83 trustees are expected to be discussing the current Long Range Facilities Plan options at the April 20 school board meeting. (File photo)
Letter: Let the people have their say on Salmon Arm school options

Parent encourages School District 83 board to hold off on making a decision

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read