Advertisement

Fredericton Lebanese community asks Ottawa to grant asylum for Beirut explosion survivors

Fredericton’s Lebanese community fundraising to support victims of Beirut explosion
WATCH: The Lebanese community in Fredericton is rallying to collect donations to help the estimated 300,000 people left homeless after the Beirut explosion. Megan Yamoah has the story.

The Lebanese community in Fredericton is asking the federal government to grant asylum to the displaced people of Beirut after an explosion rocked the capital city of Lebanon a week ago.

“I was shocked and surprised at what’s going on, we thought it was fake news,” said Pastor Father Elie Zouein of Saint Charbel’s Parish in Fredericton.

Read more: A New Brunswick man was FaceTiming with his family in Beirut. Then came the explosion

The ignition of a 2,750-tonne stockpile of ammonium nitrate at a portside facility is responsible for the explosion. It had been sitting at the Beirut port for more than six years.

“It was really sad to seeing all those people die and all those injured too,” said Georgy Kreidi.

Story continues below advertisement

Janet Kreidi, Georgy’s sister, agrees.

“It really got me in shock because Beirut is a very beautiful place to go. Last year I went to Lebanon and I love that place,” she said.

Fredericton’s Lebanese community praying for loved ones that died August 4th 2020
Fredericton’s Lebanese community praying for loved ones that died August 4th 2020. Megan Yamoah / Global News

The blast on Aug 4., devastated much of the city including its port, killing more than 160 and injuring almost 6,000.

The explosion created a shockwave so powerful it was felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, more than 200 kilometres (180 miles) across the Mediterranean.

Read more: Funerals, protests grip Lebanon a week after Beirut explosion

Georgy and Janet’s father, Pierre Kreidi, moved to Canada from Lebanon in 1987 during the Lebanese Civil War. He said the family he left behind needs help.

Story continues below advertisement

“The houses, there is no doors, no windows, there is no running water, no electricity and there is 300,000 people that stay on the street,” said Pierre.

WATCH: A deep dive into the chemical compound behind the blasts

As the days go on after the explosion, there have been protests and increased widespread outrage with the country’s political leaders and security agencies.

“We need good leadership, all is corrupted,” said Zouein.

Read more: Canada adds $25M more to Lebanon aid after deadly Beirut blast for $30M total

“The problem is if I don’t like you, I arrest you. This is not a democratic country,” said Pierre Kreidi.

Story continues below advertisement

Donations can be sent to the Red Cross and the Lebanese community of Fredericton is now asking the federal government to bring the displaced people in Beirut to Canada.

“Maybe get them a place in Canada so they can feel safe just like us right now,” said Janet Kreidi.