Canadians in Beirut

If you are currently in Beirut, follow our safety and security advice and register with us to get important updates on the situation. If you need consular help, contact the Embassy of Canada in Beirut at 961 4 726 700 or berut-cs@international.gc.ca, or contact Global Affairs Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885 or sos@international.gc.ca.

If you plan on returning to Canada, consult Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice.

On August 4, 2020, two strong explosions originating from the Port of Beirut devastated many parts of the city. The blast resulted in more than 200 fatalities and 6000 injuries. Sadly, two Canadian citizens were among those who lost their lives in this tragedy. Extensive infrastructural damage has left more than 300,000 people homeless and many health facilities, including hospitals, inoperable. Search and rescue efforts continue to look for people still reported as missing. Several humanitarian organizations have mobilized quickly to respond to the needs of those most affected.

This catastrophe comes on the heels of several multi-faceted crises facing the country, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which had already put Lebanon’s health system, social services, and economy under severe strain. Today, more than 50% of the population is unemployed, a third of businesses have shuttered and many people are food insecure. At the time of the outbreak, the country was managing civil unrest, major economic and financial crises, and hosting over a million refugees displaced by conflicts in the region. All of these crises have had a detrimental effect on Lebanon and have made access to food, education, health care, jobs and housing almost impossible.

On August 27, 2020, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Lebanese, Canadian and international humanitarian partners in Beirut to discuss Canada's response to the crisis in Lebanon. He also spoke with family members of the two Canadians killed in the explosion.

How Canada is assisting Lebanon

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, Canada provided up to $5 million in humanitarian assistance. Canada later announced an additional $25 million, for a total of $30 million. This funding will help trusted partners address immediate humanitarian needs and support efforts for early recovery. Continued provision of humanitarian assistance, including food, water and sanitation, shelter, and medical assistance, is essential to address the immediate needs of the affected people.

This includes $12 million going to trusted humanitarian partners on the ground, including UN humanitarian agencies and the Lebanese Red Cross via the Canadian Red Cross Society, to help meet the needs of people affected by this crisis. Canada’s contribution will help support emergency medical services and provide shelter, food and other essential items.

Additionally, Canada’s programming and engagement in Lebanon are key components of our whole-of-government Middle East strategy. This strategy invests up to $3.5 billion over five years (2016-2021) to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact in the region, in particular on Jordan and Lebanon. Specifically, Canada's humanitarian assistance helps supply basic needs and services, such as health care and access to education, water, food and shelter for vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Task force on Lebanon

To ensure that affected Canadians and their families have the consular assistance and other support they need to navigate this difficult time, the Government of Canada set up a task force on August 13, 2020.

The task force will support the delivery of consular services, and ensure that questions related to immigration can be quickly addressed. Lebanese citizens in Canada on a temporary basis are also able to extend their stay in Canada if they are unable to return home because of the explosion. Canada will waive the cost of documents related to renewing their status for them as well as for Canadians and permanent residents in Lebanon who need to come home.

Lebanon Matching Fund

Recognizing the generosity of Canadians and their desire to assist those affected by the explosion, the Government of Canada launched the Lebanon Matching Fund on August 8, 2020.

How the Matching Fund works

For every eligible dollar donated by individuals to the Humanitarian Coalition and its members to respond to the Beirut explosion between August 4 and 24, 2020, the Government of Canada committed to providing the equivalent to the Humanitarian Coalition, up to a maximum total amount of $8 million. On August 27, 2020, Canada announced it will match the full $8 million in donations made through the Lebanon Matching Fund as a result of the generosity of Canadians.

This funding is part of the $30 million in support that Canada is providing through key humanitarian partners.

Make a donation to the Matching Fund

The best way for Canadians to help people affected by the humanitarian disaster in Beirut is to donate money. For your contribution to be matched by the Government of Canada, donations must be made to the Humanitarian Coalition or one of its members.

How to make a donation to the Matching Fund

  1. Visit the Lebanon Crisis page of the Humanitarian Coalition’s Appeal.
  2. Make your donation between August 4 and 24, 2020. If you are donating by cheque, make your cheque payable to the registered charity. Do not make your donation payable to an individual or the Government of Canada. If you are donating online, make sure that your online payment is secure.

The Humanitarian Coalition

The Humanitarian Coalition and its members will be responsible for the programming they implement in the affected region with the use of Canadian donations. More information about the organizations’ specific planned activities can be obtained from the Humanitarian Coalition or its members.

Global Affairs Canada will transfer the funds equivalent to those raised through the Matching Fund (up to a total of $2 million) to the Humanitarian Coalition. The Humanitarian Coalition will in turn allocate these funds among its members based on such criteria as their capacity and presence in the affected region. Humanitarian Coalition members will respond to humanitarian needs through emergency relief activities, by providing food, water and sanitation programs, livelihood support, nutrition, emergency shelter and other essential services.

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DateNews typeInstitutionStatements
2020-09-28StatementsGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada deeply disappointed following resignation of Lebanese prime minister-designate

Date: 2020-09-28

News type: Statements

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-09-01StatementsGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada commemorates Lebanon’s centennial

Date: 2020-09-01

News type: Statements

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-27News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Government of Canada matches $8 million in donations made by Canadians to respond to Beirut explosion

Date: 2020-08-27

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-22News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Minister Champagne travels to Lebanon and Europe

Date: 2020-08-22

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-19News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada’s humanitarian response in Beirut

Date: 2020-08-19

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-17News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada announces new ambassador to Lebanon

Date: 2020-08-17

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-14StatementsPrime Minister of Canada

Statement by the Prime Minister on the loss of Canadian citizens in the explosion in Lebanon

Date: 2020-08-14

News type: Statements

Institution: Prime Minister of Canada

2020-08-13StatementsImmigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Canada sets up task force to support survivors and others affected by the tragedy in Beirut

Date: 2020-08-13

News type: Statements

Institution: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

2020-08-10News releasesPrime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister announces more assistance for Lebanon

Date: 2020-08-10

News type: News releases

Institution: Prime Minister of Canada

2020-08-08News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada launches matching fund to respond to Beirut explosion

Date: 2020-08-08

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-08BackgroundersGlobal Affairs Canada

Backgrounder - Lebanon Matching Fund

Date: 2020-08-08

News type: Backgrounders

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-05News releasesGlobal Affairs Canada

Canada providing humanitarian assistance in response to Beirut explosion

Date: 2020-08-05

News type: News releases

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

2020-08-05Media advisoriesGlobal Affairs Canada

Minister of International Development to hold press conference regarding Canada’s assistance to Lebanon

Date: 2020-08-05

News type: Media advisories

Institution: Global Affairs Canada

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