UK woman starts Red Cross fundraiser after family injured in Beirut explosion

An Edinburgh fitness instructor is raising funds for the Lebanese Red Cross after her husband’s family were injured in the devastating explosion in Beirut.

At least 137 people died and about 5,000 others have been hurt after the blast on Tuesday.

Emma Hokayem, whose husband Dany is from Lebanon, started the Go Fund Me drive because she said she felt so helpless.

With her in-laws still living in Beirut, Mrs Hokayem knew she wanted to do something to help the community.

She told PA news agency: “I felt a little bit helpless until we came up with the idea to start fundraising.

“I know there is a lot of people who wanted to help, but if people don’t really know where to donate, then generally you don’t. Starting this gave us a purpose within this horrible time.”

Her husband’s family live half a mile from the port where the explosion took place and have suffered injuries.

Her father-in-law had his ear sliced by glass while her mother-in-law’s arm was broken by being thrown across the room.

Mrs Hokayem said: “They’re in complete shock over what happened. Dany’s dad phoned him and said he’s been through a lot, but has never seen anything like this.”

However, Mrs Hokayem said she was comforted that the community is rallying around, both in Scotland and in Beirut.

She said: “A disaster like this really brings out the good in people. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support I’ve had over the fundraiser. You see on TV and you know what’s happened but you see it on TV and you don’t really think about it.

“We’ve had so many messages of support. Our neighbours come over to check in on us.

“Over there, everybody is out on the streets sweeping up, trying to help, trying to search for survivors.

“Dany’s parents went out of the house yesterday and there were two young boys on the street who were sweeping up. They had visible cuts on them, but they asked his parents if they needed them to come to the house and help clean up.

“It was just lovely – obviously it shouldn’t take something like this for that to come out, but that’s just the Lebanese community. They’re really kind, considerate and thoughtful. They’re very family orientated and very caring of each other – they’ll make sure everyone else is doing okay before them.”

You can support the fundraiser by donating at