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Beirut explosion: Here’s how you can help the victims

Click to play video 'Search for survivors continues after Beirut blast' Search for survivors continues after Beirut blast
Search for survivors continues after Beirut blast. – Aug 5, 2020

A massive portion of Lebanon’s capital of Beirut was obliterated on Tuesday when a pair of explosions tore through the city.

The source of at least one blast is believed to be 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that was being stored at the Port of Beirut.

Read more: Scientists explain what may have caused the Beirut blasts

At least 135 people were killed and more than 5,000 injured, though authorities expect both numbers to rise.

The country is already on the brink of political and economic collapse, and with damage from the blast pegged at anywhere between $3 billion and $5 billion, the need for aid and assistance is desperate.

Click to play video 'Vancouverites hold vigil for Lebanese explosion victims' Vancouverites hold vigil for Lebanese explosion victims
Vancouverites hold vigil for Lebanese explosion victims – Aug 6, 2020

Here are some organizations collecting donations to help the victims of Lebanon’s explosions.

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Where you can donate

The Lebanese Red Cross

This independent organization has been on the ground since the disaster first struck. It is the main provider of ambulance services in Lebanon and has aided in search-and-rescue operations. The LRC relies on volunteers and all its services are free to those who need them. You can donate to them here.

The Canadian Red Cross has also set up an emergency fund. The money raised will help support health facilities and other humanitarian needs in Lebanon, which it says will likely evolve “based on emerging needs.” You can make a one-time or monthly donation here.

Read more: Beirut explosion — Calls for reform grow as leaders pledge aid to troubled state

United Nations’ World Food Program

The WFP provides food and other emergency support to people who have become homeless, lost loved ones, or were injured by the explosion.

Lebanon imports nearly 85 per cent of its food and prices have already increased due to the country’s economic crisis. Since the grimmest damage occurred at the Port of Beirut, the agency fears food prices will be pushed “beyond the reach of many,” exacerbating an already “grim economic and food security situation.”

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You can donate to WFP here.

Similarly, the Lebanese Food Bank is accepting donations. The food bank runs programs that distribute food parcels and collects food donations from hotels and restaurants.

Click to play video 'Lebanese Canadians worry for loved ones overseas following explosion' Lebanese Canadians worry for loved ones overseas following explosion
Lebanese Canadians worry for loved ones overseas following explosion – Aug 5, 2020

Impact Lebanon

Impact Lebanon is a nonprofit organization that is crowdfunding donations to help provide shelter for people affected by the explosion.

It is also helping to share information about missing people.

Impact Lebanon has already surpassed its target of 20,000 pounds (C$35,000), sitting at more than 61,000 pounds (C$106,000) as of the morning of Aug. 6.

You can add your donation here. You can also donate to its general disaster relief fundraising campaign for Lebanon’s capital city here.

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Read more: Lebanese Montrealers hold vigil in honour of Beirut blast victims

Baytna Baytak

This charity is raising funds in conjunction with Impact Lebanon to help shelter those who have been displaced. The initiative previously helped dozens of Lebanese medics fighting the coronavirus pandemic find free accommodation, allowing them to self-isolate away from their families.

International Medical Corps

This humanitarian aid organization helps people in crisis by providing emergency health care.

Teams from the International Medical Corps are on the ground in Beirut, mobilizing “urgently needed supplies, deploying staff from unaffected health facilities to hospitals caring for patients and sending mobile medical units to provide care.”

You can donate here.

Click to play video 'Beirut grapples with devastation after deadly explosion' Beirut grapples with devastation after deadly explosion
Beirut grapples with devastation after deadly explosion – Aug 5, 2020

Amel Association

The Amel Association is a not-for-profit organization created in response to the civil war that broke out in Lebanon in 1975.

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The organization offers health and psychological services, often to refugees and vulnerable Lebanese citizens. It is collecting both food and cash donations, which you can contribute to on its GoFundMe here.

Read more: Canada emphasizes need for economic, political reform in Lebanon

How is Canada helping?

One day after the devastating explosions, the federal government announced it would contribute up to $5 million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, including $1.5 million specifically for the Lebanese Red Cross.

Lebanon is already on the verge of an economic breakdown. Concerns by citizens over government corruption and mismanagement have led to widespread, and at times violent, protests and unrest.

With this in mind, the Canadian government said Thursday that any assistance would not be directed to the Lebanese government.

Instead, it would be directed to “trusted” humanitarian organizations, said International Development Minister Katrina Gould.

Click to play video 'Beirut explosion: International development minister says Canadian government ‘working around the clock to provide assistance’' Beirut explosion: International development minister says Canadian government ‘working around the clock to provide assistance’
Beirut explosion: International development minister says Canadian government ‘working around the clock to provide assistance’ – Aug 6, 2020

She emphasized long-standing Canadian calls for economic and political change in the country, adding that reform is needed to ensure any aid from Ottawa goes toward the people of Lebanon.

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France has taken a more forward tone than Canada, with President Emmanuel Macron saying any French aid “won’t end up in corrupt hands.”

And other countries?

The international community has stepped up to help Lebanon in its moment of need.

The United States will send three C-17 transport aircraft to Lebanon to provide relief supplies, including food, water and medical equipment, CNN reported.

Read more: Photos capture devastation of Beirut explosion

France has sent military planes with dozens of personnel and equipment, as well as a mobile clinic able to care for 500 wounded people. Macron also visited Beirut on Thursday to meet with Lebanese and French teams in the disaster area before sitting down with top officials.

Britain has pledged a 5 million pound (about C$8 million) humanitarian support package for Lebanon and said it would send search and rescue teams, as well as expert medical support.

China, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Cyprus have also secured support, whether through on-site aid or funds.

— with files from the Associated Press and Reuters 

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