Crisis in the Middle East

Note: The following appeal is now closed.  You can support our ongoing work by donating to the Canadian Red Cross


The conflict between Israel and Lebanon has caused numerous casualties on both sides, primarily civilians. There has also been widespread destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure.

Many civilians who live close to the Israeli-Lebanese border left their homes to seek refuge from the fighting. The violence also prompted large numbers of foreigners, including Canadians to leave Lebanon.

Following the UN-brokered ceasefire, the key priority of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is to continue reaching the civilian population in affected villages. The goal is to ensure that the wounded are assisted and all bodies are recovered from areas made inaccessible during the fighting, as well as providing for basic needs and supporting the re-establishment of essential infrastructure, such as electricity. This task will be carried out primarily by the Lebanese Red Cross.

There are still considerable needs for food, water and medication for those who have suffered – and continue to suffer – as direct consequences of the recent hostilities.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Response

Guided by its Fundamental Principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality – the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement) supports people affected by man made or natural disasters, crisis and emergencies at home and abroad. Assistance is based on need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions. The Movement cannot and does not endorse any comments of a political nature.

The Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is working alongside all members of the Movement raising funds to meet the urgent humanitarian needs caused by this conflict.

The Canadian Red Cross responds to appeals, or formal requests for support, issued by Movement partners and is based on need. The Canadian Red Cross is currently supporting an appeal issued for Lebanon-related humanitarian relief. Humanitarian assistance in Lebanon, provided through the Movement, will include food, water, medical assistance such as first-aid, shelter and psychosocial assistance to the affected population.

The Canadian Red Cross will respond to additional appeals for support if they are issued, such as appeals from the Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. At this time, a request has not been made by either national society.

Over 450 Canadian Red Cross volunteers across Canada have been assisting Canadians being evacuated back home due to this conflict. All service provided to evacuees is based on need. Knowing that evacuation from a combat zone can be stressful for evacuees and their families, Red Cross is providing comfort and care to evacuees in a number of ways upon their return to Canada. Canadian Red Cross has also been working closely with the federal and provincial governments during this operation.

The assistance provided to evacuees is similar to relief services the Canadian Red Cross provides during domestic disasters. Evacuees in need are provided with shelter, food, first aid for up to 72 hours, and receive help in obtaining government assistance and emergency communications. To date, Canadian Red Cross has assisted more than 5,000 people who are returning to Canada from Lebanon. 

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

In partnership with National Societies in the Middle East, the ICRC is working to alleviate the worst effects of the current violence in the region.

The ICRC directs and coordinates any international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict, and acts as the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, reminding all parties involved in conflict to adhere to the protections outlined in the conventions for prisoners of war, wounded and sick combatants and civilians.


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Restoring Family Links

Concerned about missing relatives?

The Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links Program encourages all those concerned about their relatives in Lebanon to make all attempt to contact them by telephone first. 

People who are unable to contact relatives by phone can send a short family message to their relative by contacting the local branch of  the Canadian Red Cross.  The key information required is:

  • Personal details of the family member who you would like to contact including telephone number and address
  • A short message you would like the Red Cross to pass on to your family member
  • your own contact details

The ICRC has launched a specific page off its Family Links website. Please visit the website if:

  • you are within the affected area: persons may register themselves or with the help of the ICRC or Red Cross/Red Crescent staff to inform their relatives that they are safe and well. Their families can consult the list of names on the website or paper lists
  • you are within the affected area and elsewhere in the world: persons may register relatives about whom they are seeking information.