International Development Minister Karina Gould will provide an update today on aid for Lebanon in the wake of Tuesday’s devastating explosion in Beirut, and outline consular efforts to help Canadians who are in the affected region.
The news conference in Ottawa is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca will carry it live.
The federal government announced Wednesday that it was contributing up to $5 million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, including $1.5 million that will be directed to the Lebanese Red Cross to provide emergency medical services, shelter and food for those affected.
In an interview with CBC News, Gould said the money represents Canada’s initial commitment and that it could grow in the coming days and weeks as the scale of the disaster becomes more evident.
According to her office, there are about 11,000 Canadians in Lebanon who have registered with Global Affairs Canada.
Dear Canadians in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lebanon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Lebanon</a>, like you we have been impacted by the explosion. I want you to know the embassy has resumed limited operations today and we hope to resume consular appointments next week. In the meantime, Ottawa continues to provide consular support.
Canada’s chargé d’affaires in Lebanon, Gregory Galligan, tweeted this morning that the government stands ready to help Canadians in the region.
“I want you to know the embassy has resumed limited operations today and we hope to resume consular appointments next week. In the meantime, Ottawa continues to provide consular support,” he said.
The explosion occurred Tuesday when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate ignited, sending shock waves across the Lebanese capital. Ammonium nitrate is a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, and had been stored for years at the port.
At least 135 people were killed and about 5,000 injured, overwhelming hospitals in the area. Another 300,000 people have been left without a place to live.