To assist the people of Lebanon struggling to recover from last week’s devastating explosion in Beirut, Justin Trudeau has announced further support of $25 million. There is now a total of $30 million that the Canadian government has contributed to the international aid effort.
Trudeau indicated that the funds are supposed to assist trusted humanitarian aid groups “support emergency medical services and provide shelter, food, and other essential items for people impacted by the blast.” Last week after promising only an initial $5 million of which $2 million was to match donations from Canadians, his government was criticized for doing too little to help the Lebanese people.
Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored for seven years at a portside warehouse are thought to have detonated the blast that happened last week. A government statement released late Monday stated that they would continue to monitor that catastrophic condition and work diligently with the international community and humanitarian partners in identifying how they can continue to support the people of Lebanon.
Karina Gould, the International Development Minister, confirmed that the government is sending a signal to the Lebanese people that they will be there to for the rebuilding efforts over the long-term and offer immediate response to this tragedy.
She added that they are ready to do more, and they would make sure that their investments go directly to communities affected.
The prime minister indicated that matching funding has now been expanded to a maximum of $5 million. He urged Canadians to donate to the Lebanon matching fund. Trudeau stated that Canada could support the people of Lebanon as they work to heal and rebuild. Around 300,000 residents were left homeless, more than 150 people dead, and thousands more were injured.
Canada’s additional aid was reported few hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his resignation after days of angry protests.
Bessma Momani, a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, indicated that the initial $5 million in aid from Canada was “inadequate and not commensurate with what a G7 country with strong diaspora links to Lebanon and with a self-proclaimed internationalist agenda should commit.” She was concerned about the initial $2-million cap on matching donations put up by the government.