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Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers to hold emergency fundraiser for Libya and Morocco following devastating natural disasters

Following a pair of devastating natural disasters that have killed tens of thousands in Libya and Morocco, the Centre for Newcomers along with Islamic Relief Canada are aiming to help connect the generosity of Calgarians with a tangible way to provide relief efforts.

To date, more than 14,000 lives have been lost in both nations, with thousands more missing. The number of deaths is expected to surpass 20,000 in Libya alone.

On Sept. 22, the Centre for Newcomers will be hosting an emergency fundraiser with all proceeds going to Islamic Relief Canada to be used towards supporting disaster relief efforts.

Rabah Swaidek, Director of Fund Development for the Centre for Newcomers, who has been in Libya supporting the relief efforts there, said that the fundraiser would be a way for Calgarians looking to make a difference, to make a difference.

Funds raised, she said, would go to providing shelter, medicine, food, and other basic needs.

“There’s waterborne diseases… and so they’re helping with that. There’s a lot of evacuees, because people have lost their homes, and so just providing the tents and the mattresses, and of course the non perishable food items. All those kinds of things, just to be able to help civilians,” Swaidek said.

“People can come out kind of understand what’s going on in Libya, what’s going on in Morocco, and understand the scale of it and how many people have lost their lives through this,” she said.

Tickets are $15, and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.ca/e/relief-for-morocco-and-libya-emergency-fundraiser-tickets-719396222467.

Scale of tragedy almost unimaginable

She said that whole generations have lost their lives to the flooding in the Wada Derna valley in Libya, and from the Marrakesh–Safi earthquake in Morocco.

“As a mom of two I keep hearing stories of kids that have lost their mom, their dad. There is a girl that lost all her family members, and she hasn’t spoken a word since the floods. She’s only said ‘where’s my mom, where’s my mom,’ and those are the only words that came out of her mouth. It’s devastating,” Swaidek said.

“I urge the Calgary community to come out and support the cause and be there for one another.

“I’m here on the ground to know exactly where the funds are going, and to help support the folks that are here as well. It’s going to good use, and like I said—I can’t really say it enough—come out. Even if you can’t donate, come out and buy a ticket. It’s just a few dollars, and you’ll be supporting a family.”

Swaidek said that as a Libyan herself, the tragedy that occurred was in many ways a personal one in additional to a humanitarian one.

“I’ve lost a lot of family members during the floods. We have family members that are still missing, so this is very close to me,” she said.