Right after a devastating disaster, the world is flocking to Lebanon's capital to help out. The latest to lend a hand are two Lebanese-Canadians from Edmonton. Beirut's explosion only worsened issues already ravaging the country, from economic collapse to a refugee crisis to COVID-19, according to them, and they want to help.

Days after an enormous explosion in the port of Beirut left thousands injured, hundreds dead, and major hospitals in ruins, Edmontonians Nasser Kirameddine and Daniel Hassan began packing their bags.

"Being Lebanese Canadians and having family and friends and stuff here, you feel a little bit of devastation and worry and fear," said Hassan to Narcity.

"Your first instinct is to come and help. And you want to be able to do something."

On Monday, August 17, the two arrived in the city as part of the Humanitarian Coalition, a group of 12 charities sent to help with everything from building temporary shelters to repairing water treatment and sanitation facilities.

Right after our interview, they have a busy day ahead of them; they'll be helping to give out food packs and clean the rubble off the streets.

Kirameddine and Hassan are part of Islamic Relief Canada. On top of doing fieldwork, their jobs are to share stories of what it's like living in Beirut with people back in Canada and other countries.

As of Wednesday, August 19, they'd just finished a two-day quarantine and have begun exploring the city. Kirameddine said the usually bustling capital now felt like a "ghost town."

"There isn't as many people on the streets, a lot of places are closed," he told Narcity.

What used to be a 45-minute commute through the busiest part of town now took 15 minutes, he said.

Despite the dire situation, however, they said Lebanon's spirit was still strong.

"The resilience that the Lebanese citizens have shown thus far, even in this initial 48-hour quarantine, was apparent," said Hassan.

Kirameddine and Hassan will do all they can in their time at the capital before they return to Canada on Monday, August 24.

When asked how Canadians could help out, Hassan said to donate. The government will be matching all donations received through the charity network up to $5 million, and they desperately need funds.

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