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Beirut explosion destroys Heart to Heart International shipment

Heart to Heart International Hygiene Kits
Posted at 9:04 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 23:37:20-04

LENEXA, Kan. — The port of Beirut is barely recognizable following an explosion Tuesday that killed more than 60 people and injured thousands.

In the ruins are more than 5,000 hygiene kits and hundreds of pieces of children's clothing from Lenexa-based Heart to Heart International that arrived this week.

"Most of what was in that container was donated to Heart to Heart by Kansas City organizations," Dan Neal, vice president of operations at Heart to Heart International, said. "Many of those hygiene kits were put together by volunteers in our building right here in Lenexa."

Lebanon is one of the 131 countries the Lenexa-based humanitarian group has served in its 27 years.

Neal deals with three groups in the region: Anera, Syrian American Medical Society and International Medical Corps.

"The organizations that we're working with, the people that we email and talk on the phone with are having a really difficult time," Neal said.

As crews search for survivors, many are pledging to send aid to the country that is home to more than 1 million Syrian refugees and was already in trouble.

“It's an economic crisis, a financial crisis, a political crisis, a health crisis," Tamara Al-Rifai, a spokesperon for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said, "and now this horrible explosion. So there are many layers to what is happening in Lebanon."

Neal said plans are underway to replace what was lost and encouraged those in the Kansas City area to donate. To help, visit the Heart to Heart International website or text "HHI" to 41444.