Feds create task force to help get Canadians home after Beirut blast
University students who volunteered to help clean damaged homes and give other assistance, pass in front of a building that was damaged by last week's explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
OTTAWA -- The federal government has set up a task force to help Canadian citizens and permanent residents get home from Lebanon following last week's devastating explosion in Beirut.
The government says the task force will support the delivery of consular services to those in Lebanon to ensure that questions related to immigration can be quickly addressed.
It will also allow Lebanese citizens in Canada to extend their stay here if they are unable to return home because of the deadly explosion.
As well, the government says it will waive the cost of documents related both to the renewal of visitors' status in Canada and for Canadians and permanent residents in Lebanon who need to come home.
The measures follow last week's announcement of $30 million in humanitarian and development assistance for the people of Lebanon.
The blast, blamed on negligent storage of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, killed more than 200 people, injured thousands more and levelled large swaths of Beirut.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2020.