Edmonton business owner charters plane to airlift supplies to blast-shaken Beirut

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An Edmonton business owner is paying out of his own pocket to send shipments of food and medical supplies to aid blast-shaken Beirut.

Sam Mraiche, the founder of MHCare Medical, arrived in Hamilton, Ont. Thursday night to oversee the second of five planned shipments headed to the Lebanese capital city over the next several weeks. Mraiche, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon, is covering the cost of the cargo plane as well as some of the supplies.

While he didn’t disclose the cost, he said Cargo Jet is giving him a discount. Each journey takes between 40 to 50 days to arrive in Beirut.

“I have two sisters who live in Lebanon. My nieces and nephews are there. We’ve got a lot of family and friends there. I just felt the need. I have to assist the country that’s very near and dear to my heart,” he said.

Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which was improperly stored at the Beirut port for several years, is believed to be the cause of the Aug. 4 blast that killed more than 200 people, two of whom were Canadian, and left thousands injured and homeless. The explosion is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damages.

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