Canadian aid to Lebanon now totals $30M

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Canada will provide an extra $25 million to Lebanon to help the country recover from explosions last week. Devastating blasts destroyed a large portion of Beirut and left at least 160 dead. Additional fund will go to the $5 million announced last week, for a total of $30 million in humanitarian and recovery aid to Lebanon.

Trudeau said in his statement that he joins Canadians across the country to mourn those who died in last Tuesday’s tragic explosion in Beirut. “I offer sincere condolences to their families and friends and they grieve this tragedy.”

“Together, we can support the people of Lebanon as they work to heal and rebuild.”

Raising funds for the Lebanon Matching Fund

Trudeau also urged Canadians to contribute to the Lebanon Matching Fund. It will see the federal government match donations made to the Humanitarian Coalition and its members between Aug. 4 and Aug. 24.

Monday’s announcement also saw government increase the limit for donations matched to $5 million. The Ministry of International Development said they raised original $2 million limit in less than 48 hours.

Minister Karina Gould said the are ready to do more to ensure the investments go directly to communities affected.

The original $5 million in aid, the Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced on Wednesday, included an initial $1.5 million to the Lebanon Red Cross to meet urgent needs like food, shelter and emergency medical services.

“Canada will be there every step of the way to help the people of Lebanon as they rebuild and to push for much-needed political and economic reforms,” Champagne said in a statement.

The funding increase came hours after Lebanon’s prime minister and cabinet resigned following public outrage over the blasts, which have been blamed partially on government corruption. Protests have erupted across the country since the catastrophe, with demonstrators demanding reform.

Over 6,000 other people were injured by the explosions, while hundreds of thousands are believed to have been displaced.

The blasts, which occurred near Beirut’s port and central district, destroyed homes as well as key infrastructure.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown

It remains unclear what caused the explosions. Yet authorities believe the first blast may have been at a warehouse containing fireworks located at the port.

The second blast is likely to have occurred at a warehouse used to store nearly 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate — a highly explosive material.

The material had been stored at the port since 2013 with few safeguards despite numerous warnings of the danger.

The result was a disaster Lebanese blame squarely on their leadership’s corruption and neglect. Losses from the catastrophic blast range between $10 billion to $15 billion.

About 20 people have been detained after the blast. Among detainees are the head of Lebanon’s customs department and his predecessor, as well as the head of the port. The police questioned Dozens of people, including two former Cabinet ministers, according to government officials.

On Sunday, world leaders and international organizations pledged nearly $300 million in emergency humanitarian aid to Lebanon, Beirut. However, they warned that they wouldn’t make money available until Lebanese authorities commit themselves to the political and economic reforms demanded by the people.

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