Cleveland's Lebanese Community Holds Fundraiser, Vigil In Support Of Beirut

A rescue team surveys the site of this week's massive explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday.
A rescue team surveys the site of this week's massive explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday. Three days after a massive explosion rocked Beirut, killing more than 100 people and causing widespread devastation, rescuers are still searching for survivors and the government is investigating what caused the disaster. [Thibault Camus / AP]
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Cleveland’s Lebanese community has begun fundraising efforts to support Beirut after an explosion brought death and destruction to the city earlier this week.

The American Lebanese Community Council of Northern Ohio is asking for donations to support Beirut. Proceeds will go directly to recovery efforts, according to Chairman Pierre Bejjani.

“This is a good cause, we’re going to be open for receiving,” Bejjani said. “Any donations will be greatly appreciated.”

The blast injured thousands and the death count is still rising. The blast, which destroyed the port and surrounding neighborhood, was driven by thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, according to Lebanese officials.

Donations can be made out to the American Lebanese Community Council and marked for relief efforts for Lebanon, Bejjani said.

The Northeast Ohio fundraising efforts kicked off at a Thursday meeting, where local community leaders discussed possible relief efforts. Bejjani spoke with the Lebanese Red Cross earlier in the week to discuss how best to provide support. All proceeds will go directly to the Lebanese Red Cross and Beirut relief, he said.

“Our community, they all wanted to do something, everybody’s trying to do something,” Bejjani said. “We’re trying to put our efforts all together for this.”

In addition, the council plans to approach local hospitals and urge them to provide medical aid to Lebanon, Bejjani said.

A vigil for Beirut will be held at noon on Saturday in the Lebanese Cultural Garden in Rockefeller Park.

“It is something that will relate to all Lebanese,” Bejjani said. “This is going to be a part of our representation of Lebanon and our community here in Cleveland.”

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