TORONTO -- The federal government has announced it will match every donation made by individual Canadians to a coalition of humanitarian organizations to help Lebanon in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly explosion.

On Saturday, International Development Minister Karina Gould said the government would launch the “Lebanon Matching Fund” in order to mobilize resources for those affected by the blast in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut.

The minister said every dollar donated by individual Canadians to the Humanitarian Coalition between Aug. 4 and Aug. 24 will be matched by the federal government, up to a maximum of $2 million.

“My message to Canadians is this: The best way that you can help is to donate money and for your contribution to be matched by the Government of Canada, donations must be made to the Humanitarian Coalition or one of its partners,” Gould said during a virtual press conference on Saturday morning.

The 12 organizations that make up the Humanitarian Coalition are Action Against Hunger, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, CARE Canada, Doctors of the World, Humanity & Inclusion, Islamic Relief Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Plan International Canada, Save the Children Canada and World Vision Canada.

The matched donations from the government will be transferred to the Humanitarian Coalition, which will then allocate the funds among its members based on their “capacity and presence in the affected region,” Global Affairs Canada said.

Humanitarian organizations on the ground in Beirut have been helping those affected by the massive explosion with basic needs, such as health care, food, water, and shelter.

The explosion of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate at a portside warehouse on Tuesday killed at least 154 people, injured 5,000 more, and left approximately 300,000 residents homeless.

The Lebanon Matching Fund is part of the federal government’s previously announced commitment to provide $5 million in relief to Lebanon. It also includes the government’s initial contribution of $1.5 million to the Lebanese Red Cross.

“Canada will continue to monitor the situation to determine the best way to further respond to this crisis in a co-ordinated and effective manner,” Gould said.  

When asked if Canada recognizes the legitimacy of the Lebanese government, Gould said they were sending the aid directly to “trusted humanitarian partners” in the country, instead of the government there, in order to ensure the assistance goes to the Lebanese people.

“We want to make sure that the assistance gets to the people who need it the most and these partnerships have been developed over a long period of time,” she said.