Canada To Send Up To $5 Million To Lebanon After Deadly Beirut Explosion

OTTAWA —Canada is emphasizing the need for economic and political reform in Lebanon over the long term as it looks at immediate ways to help the country following this week’s deadly explosion in Beirut.

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Development Canada says in a statement that an initial $1.5 million is going to “trusted humanitarian partners on the ground” such as the Lebanese Red Cross via the Canadian Red Cross Society to help meet urgent needs.

In a post on Twitter, the department says Canada’s support will help provide emergency medical services, shelter and food.

It says Canada will continue to closely monitor the situation and stands ready “to provide additional assistance to respond to this terrible tragedy.”

International Development Minister Karina Gould says the federal government is committed to helping Lebanon as it begins to recover from the blast.

Yet Gould emphasized long-standing Canadian calls for economic and political change in the country to address many of the root problems that have left Lebanon one of the most indebted countries in the world.

Many Lebanese have expressed frustration and anger at their political elites following Tuesday’s explosion at the Beirut port, which has been blamed on tonnes of ammonium nitrate having been improperly stored for years.


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Gould says Canada’s embassy in Beirut managed to escape the explosion relatively unscathed and will reopen on Monday to begin offering consular assistance to Canadians in need.

Gould referred questions about whether Lebanese-Canadians will be able to bring relatives in crisis to Canada to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

New Democrat international development critic Heather McPherson says the humanitarian aid is gravely needed and the Lebanese people will require significant international support.

McPherson says beyond assisting with immediate food, medical, and other needs, the federal government must take concrete action to assist the international community’s long-term humanitarian efforts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

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