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Additional aid for Lebanon recognizes political, economic challenges: Gould

Last Updated Aug 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm EDT

People march in honor of the victims of the last week's explosion that killed over 150 people and devastated the city, near the blast site in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

OTTAWA — International Development Minister Karina Gould says Canada’s decision to increase its humanitarian aid to Lebanon recognizes the country already faced significant turmoil before last week’s explosion and will need long-term support.

The Liberal government was criticized last week for promising only an initial $5 million — including $2 million to match donations from Canadians — to help the people of Lebanon struggling to recover from the deadly blast.

Gould tells The Canadian Press in an interview that Ottawa realized that requests from international aid organizations would start coming in and that Canada wants to be ready so it can respond as quickly as possible.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an additional $25 million Monday evening, which will go to humanitarian aid agencies and organizations that work in the region.

More than 150 people were killed in the blast, believed to have been detonated by thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at a portside warehouse, and thousands more were injured.

Gould says Canada also recognizes the political and economic situation in Lebanon, where the government announced its resignation Monday after days of protests, was already challenging for those who are most vulnerable.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press