Halifax Regional Municipality council to vote on $100K for Beirut relief effort

Click to play video: 'Relief efforts continuing in Lebanon'
Relief efforts continuing in Lebanon
Halifax council looks to donate $100 K to Beirut explosion relief – Sep 28, 2020

The Halifax Lebanese community is grateful for the local support when it comes to helping Lebanon recover from the deadly explosion that leveled the Port of Beirut.

On Tuesday, Halifax Regional Municipal council will look to give final approval to a motion that would see a $100,000 donation made to the Canadian Red Cross to assist in humanitarian efforts on the ground in Beirut following the Aug. 4 explosion.

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“Obviously there is a big connection between Halifax and Lebanon,” said Wadih Fares, the Honorary Consul of Lebanon in Halifax.

In the days following the devastating Beirut catastrophe, Fares put out the call to the province and Canada to step up and support Lebanon in their cleanup efforts.

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Nova Scotia responded by donating $1 million to the Lebanese Red Cross to support those affected by the explosion.

The Lebanese community has deep roots in Halifax and in Nova Scotia, Fares says, noting so many families here were affected by the disaster.

“Halifax is our home. However, every one of us that lives in Halifax and abroad is still very connected to Lebanon, with families and relatives and friends,” said Fares.

In August, councillor Shawn Cleary made a motion asking Halifax Regional Council to approve a one-time financial aid donation to the Red Cross in support of the emergency response in Beirut.

On Tuesday, council will vote to send a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross effort, who will determine the best way to use the financial support.

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“The Lebanese red cross is on the ground and they know what is needed,” said Fares.

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Mary Ann Laba, vice-president of the Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax, says it has been difficult for members of the local community to watch tragedy continue to unfold in Beirut, as many families in Nova Scotia have relatives back home for whom they can’t be there to help.

COVID-19 is still an issue for travel and so the local support has rallied the community closer, said Laba.

“We can’t be there physically to help with the cleanup and to help with the rebuild, so this is the only way that we have at our disposal right now to help,” said Laba.

“The Lebanese community has done a tremendous amount of fundraising and it just needs to continue, that’s where we are right now. It’s all we can do.”

Council overwhelmingly supported the motion to donate to Lebanon back in August when it was first tabled. It’s expected the motion will pass Tuesday.


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