WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Only on FOX 5: Relief and Recovery efforts are underway in Beirut following last week's massive explosion that killed roughly 200 people and injured more than 7,000 others.
While investigators are still trying to pinpoint what caused more than 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate to ignite, the Lebanese-American communities in the U.S. are mobilizing.
Dany Abi Najm, the owner of Lebanese Taverna Restaurants in the D.C. region, has been on the ground in Beirut for 48 hours assisting with relief efforts.
"I was born near the site of the blast, about half a mile away and still have family living there. who were directly impacted by the blast ...they felt the brunt of the impact, the glass completely shattered inside the house, the aluminum frames, the doors everything came in their direction," said Abi Najm.
Several of his family members got hurt – the worst of the injuries was his cousin's child, an 8-year-old little girl who suffered brain damage.
"The look of shock on their faces as they were bleeding and walking into the hospitals...it’s just really overwhelming to see your own cousins, your own relatives go through something like that," he said.
A Virginia resident, Abi Najm is assisting World Central Kitchen and other groups in Beirut to help feed the more than 300,000 displaced.
'The effort is tremendous on the ground here... we started by making 3500 meals a day today we made 8000 meals and tomorrow and going forward we plan to make 10,000 meals a day," he said.
Abi Najm adds that his grandfather's home was destroyed.
"It was quite hard to handle, to digest, very hard," said Gladys Abi Najm.
Gladys is Dany's sister. She says the timing of her brother's visit back to their homeland – brings their immigrant story full circle.
"August 11, 1976, we landed in America and that same day...(this week) he landed in Lebanon to help our people and our country," she said.
The Lebanese people were struggling before this tragedy hit from a collapsing economy, but amid the destruction, and ashes this family says there's hope.
"I’ve seen it through one destruction in the civil war, and now this. It’s heartbreaking to see Beirut go through this again. But the Lebanese are resilient and it will be rebuilt as it has through the centuries," said Dany.
Dany says the outpouring of love from the U.S. and international community has been overwhelming. In just one week, Lebanese Taverna has helped raise almost $100,000. If you'd like to donate visit: https://lebanesetaverna.com/
Through the end of the month, one dollar of every order of hummus at Lebanese Taverna will go to the Beirut recovery efforts.