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Woodstock-Oxford Rotary sending medical supplies to Beirut following deadly explosions

A general view shows the damage at the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 5, 2020.
A general view shows the damage at the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

WARNING: This article contains graphic descriptions some readers may find disturbing.

Beirut, Lebanon will soon receive packages full of urgently needed medical supplies from Canadians.

Woodstock-Oxford Rotary has launched an initiative to send such supplies to Beirut in an effort to support the city’s medical services following the explosions that took more than 170 lives and wounded 6,000 others.

Doug Vincent, the Rotary Lebanon relief co-ordinator told Jess Brady on 980 CFPL’s The Afternoon Show Friday that this idea came from a good friend of his, Dr. Brad Petrisor with the department of surgery at McMaster University.

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“He approached Rotary because he had received a plea from his medical colleagues in Beirut who were just desperate for humanitarian aid assistance, mainly in the area of medical supplies (because) they’ve already had three hospitals demolished,” Vincent said.

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Vincent says Rotary supports a medical recycling depot in Stratford, which recycles donations to areas that need it most.

He and Petrisor visited last weekend and identified some items that Beirut urgently needs such as “medications, surgical drapery, gauze.”

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The relief co-ordinator shared some of the tragic stories he and the doctor have heard from hospitals in Beirut.

“People walk into the emergency room holding their fingers or holding a limb partially torn off.”

“One (person) who came in and her abdomen had exploded apart, and she was carrying her internal organs in her arms,” Vincent continued.

“We just can’t imagine the horrific scene they have to deal with, so we’re doing whatever we can to help them.”

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Many others have also stepped up to help Beirut and the Rotary accomplish their mission.

“We have volunteers and donations from the Lebanese community in London, we have some Lebanese people who are in Rotary, and we’ve got Rotarians and doctors in Calgary involved,” said Vincent.

The first set of urgently needed medical supplies has been taken to the logistics warehouse in Mississauga to be packed and shrink-wrapped for air transport to Beirut.

Vincent says Rotary will ship another container with more donations hopefully by the end of next week, “and we’ll hopefully ship a second container from a similar warehouse that Rotary has in Vancouver.”

Read more: 2 Canadians among those killed in Beirut explosion: Trudeau

But the club is requesting financial support.

Vincent says the price of shipping is anticipated to be around $10,000, which Rotary does not have the money to fully fund.

Those interested in donating can do so here.

The initiative is a joint project with the division of orthopedics and international surgery desk, department of surgery, McMaster University.

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