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How Canadians can help in the wake of the Lebanon explosion

Elianna Lev
·3-min read

Lebanon is reeling after a massive explosion erupted at the central port in the capital city of Beirut Tuesday. The incident has left at least 135 people dead and thousands injured. There are reports that hospitals, some decimated by the explosion, are unable to provide enough beds and treatment for the injured.

Officials say the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was unsafely stored in a warehouse facility.

Prior to the blast, the country was already in a state of turmoil as a result of economic and political strife. The country’s economy is in the worst shape it’s been in decades. Islamic Relief, a charity that works in the region, estimates that nearly half the population lives below the poverty line, with 35 per cent of people in the country unemployed.

In October 2019, civil demonstrations started taking place across Lebanon. What was initially meant to protest taxes on tobacco, petrol and VoiceoverIP calls on programs like WhatsApp, soon expanded across the country to decry political and socio-economic issues. Some of these include the country’s sectarian rule, massive unemployment and sluggish economy, and the lack of government action to supply basic resources like water, sanitation and electricity. On top of all that, the effects of COVID-19 have only challenged what was already a precarious situation.

Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across Beirut, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. In addition to those who died, more than 3,000 other people were injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across Beirut, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. In addition to those who died, more than 3,000 other people were injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Canadians looking to help the crisis in Lebanon can donate to the following charities:

Islamic Relief Canada

An emergency appeal is open for donations that will go to on-the-ground efforts in Lebanon. Over the last few years, the charity has provided water and shelter to those in need. The ground workers will provide urgent food aid and hygiene kits across the country.

Lebanese Red Cross

This charity is the main source for ambulance services in the country, serving 140,000 emergencies and patient transports per year. However, that number is expected to spike as a result of Tuesday’s blast. The Lebanese Red Cross has built triage centres in mosques and centres across Beirut to help those who can’t be reached at their homes.

Canadian Red Cross

Canadians can also make financial donation to the Canadian Red Cross by going to the Lebanon Humanitarian Needs Appeal section of the website online or by calling 1-800-418-1111. Money raised for this appeal will help the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help individuals in Lebanon affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis now and as the situation evolves, as well as the recent explosion.

Live Love Beirut

A pool of funds meant to support NGOs on the ground, working to directly relieve the damages made by Tuesday’s explosion. Donations will go to treat those impacted by the disaster, help find missing people and rebuild citizens’ lives.

Save the Children

This charity, which has worked with children and youth in the region for six decades, is on the ground to help with urgent relief. Services provided include food and hygiene supplies, psychological first aid, assistance to help reunite children with their families, rehabilitation of homes destroyed and the distribution of cash transfers for those struggling to cope. Donations accepted in GBP, EUR or USD only.