After deadly Beirut explosion, local Lebanese community collecting donations

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A deadly explosion halfway around the world in Lebanon’s capital city is being felt here in Rhode Island.

Locals in the Lebanese community are collecting donations and sending care packages the families impact by the tragedy.

“We are not sending just one container,” said Francois Karam who organized the fundraiser. “This is just the beginning. We are going to continually keep sending them out.”

Karam runs Opa, a Lebanese restaurant on Federal Hill. He lived in Lebanon for nearly a decade and now wants to help out anyway we can.

“Currently we are just focusing on food,” Karam said Monday. “People are literally starving to death over there. Even though we appreciate clothes and other items, food is the main objective.”

The Aug. 4 explosion at the port of Beirut killed at least 160 people, injured thousands more and caused widespread destruction.

Protests have broken out in the streets of Lebanon as the people there call for an independent investigation into the explosion. It’s uncertain what caused the massive blast.

“The people of Lebanon are not expecting their government to help them and expect people from all over the world help them and that’s why we are here,” Karam said.

Go here to donate to Save Beirut, or visit the group’s Facebook page to learn more.

New: Lebanese prime minister steps down in wake of Beirut explosion, protests »
Watch: Wedding photographer captures Beirut explosion »

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