'It’s heartbreaking'; Lebanese Canadians holding rally at Victoria park to aid Beirut
LONDON, ONT. -- The Lebanese community is holding a rally at Victoria Park on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to pay their respects and raise money to provide humanitarian aid for Lebanon.
Lebanese Canadians in London say they are feeling heartache and devastation from the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, that killed nearly 160 people and left 6,000 injured.
Basema Hammoud moved to Canada in 2002, but has family members who live close to Beirut.
Basema Hammoud (top row, middle) is a Lebanese Canadian who has family living in Lebanon. (Jordyn Read / CTV News)
Hammoud says she is 'heartbroken' for the people of Lebanon and for her family members who felt the blast.
"[My sister] was just laying down in her bed when what felt like an earthquake, her place is about 15 kilometres from where it happened," says Hammoud.
Other family members of Hammoud suffered massive damage from the explosion. Her brother-in-law’s workplace is approximately three kilometres from the port. The building’s windows are all shattered.
"We are just looking at all the videos and all the footage and it’s heartbreaking. I know I live in Canada, I’m a Canadian citizen but I have Lebanon as also my country…and having family there you are always worried," says Hammoud.
Hammoud and her family say they are also concerned over the anti-government protests in Beirut.
"I am pro-protests there," says Hammoud, "The politicians’ we have there, have been there 30 years and they have caused so much damage to the country."
Efforts are underway in London to assist with the humanitarian aid needed in Lebanon. Organizers say that Londoners are invited to Victoria park Sunday at 2:00 p.m. To show their support and raise funds.
"Wonderful community leaders, different levels of the government; municipal, federal, provincial, will all be there. Members of the community, we are very thankful for the outgoing support we have been offered and given. It's just such a tragedy that has taken place in a wonderful country," says Jad Farhat a Lebanese Canadian who will be attending the rally.
Lebanese Canadian, Jad Farhat plans to attend the rally on Sunday August 9, 2020 (Jordyn Read / CTV News)
People are encouraged to bring a Canadian and Lebanese flag and a candle that can be lit safely to honour victims.
Organizers say everyone is encouraged to wear a mask and respect physical distancing during the rally to support Lebanon.