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Vancouver's Lebanese community comes together for vigil to honour victims of Beirut explosion

Last Updated Aug 6, 2020 at 6:05 am PST


A vigil took place outside the Vancouver Art Gallery for those affected by the massive explosion in Beirut

More than 50 people showed up for the candlelight vigil on Wednesday

The horrific blast at Beirut's port killed more than 130 people and left thousands of others hurt

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — More than 50 people came together outside the Vancouver Art Gallery Wednesday for a candlelight vigil to mourn those who were killed in the Beirut explosion.

The blast killed 135 people and injured about 5,000 others on Tuesday.

Vancouver business owner Sabrina Chammas Doumet is from the Lebanese capital and told CityNews several of her family members who live in Beirut have been impacted.

She says most of her family members were safe from the blast but she adds her brother-in-law suffered a severe concussion in the blast, which completely destroyed his home.

“He is one of the very lucky few that was able to get treatment and is relatively okay and safe,” she said.

“A lot of Lebanese people are not lucky and they don’t have any other options.”

It’s believed a collection of fireworks and ammonium nitrate ignited, causing the blast. The root cause is still under investigation.

Hospitals were overwhelmed by the injured. One that was damaged in the blast was evacuated, with all patients taken to a nearby field for treatment.

It was the worst single explosion to strike Lebanon, a country with history of destruction from a 1975-1990 civil war, to conflicts with Israel and periodic terrorist attacks.

In response to the devastating explosion, the Canadian government is providing $5 million in humanitarian assistance to help the citizens of Lebanon.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne says $1.5 million will go to the Lebanese Red Cross to provide food, shelter and emergency medical services.

“Canada stands with the people of Lebanon in this harrowing time,” tweeted Champagne.

“We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground closely. We stand ready to provide additional assistance, as appropriate.”

New Democrat international development critic Heather McPherson says the humanitarian aid is gravely needed, and the Lebanese people will require significant international support.

McPherson says beyond assisting with immediate food, medical, and other needs, the federal government must take concrete action to assist the international community’s long-term humanitarian efforts.

– With files from Toby Kerr, Vanessa Doban, Isabelle Raghem and The Canadian Press