Canada Appoints New Ambassador to Lebanon at Critical Time for Country

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

Canada has named a new ambassador to Lebanon, expediting the appointment as that country grapples with the aftermath of a major explosion in Beirut.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne announced the diplomatic appointment of Chantal Chastenay on Aug. 17. She replaces Emmanuelle Lamoureax, who held the post for three years.

Chastenay, a career diplomat, has worked her way up the ranks of the foreign service, serving recently as deputy head of mission in Mexico. She will lead the coordination of Canada’s support to Lebanon as the country rebuilds amid the ongoing crisis.

Lebanon is still reeling from the Aug. 4 blast, when thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut’s port exploded, wounding 6,000 people and killed at least 180—including two Canadians. The blast left an estimated 300,000 people homeless and caused about $20 billion in damages.

Canada is pledging $30 million in humanitarian and development assistance to support rebuilding efforts. The federal government will also match donations from Canadians up to $5 Million.

Canada has set up a task force to support those affected by the explosion in Beirut, and will give Canadians in Lebanon consular assistance.

Lebanese citizens who are currently in Canada will be able to extend their stay if they are unable to return home because of the explosion.

With files from The Canadian Press