How Syrian refugees are helping the people of this fire-ravaged town in Canada

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This week the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, has been devastated by wildfires, leaving at least 1,600 buildings burned to the ground.


Some 80,000 residents of the town have been evacuated after a state of emergency was declared in the tar sands oil town. Many of these people have watched their homes burn. Now, a group of Syrian refugees in nearby Calgary are banding together to help the people of Fort McMurray, The Calgary Herald reported, because they understand exactly what it's like to be forced to flee their homes under dire circumstances.

The refugees are collecting $5-$20 from families who can spare it, and at least 30 have contributed so far, according to CTV News. Some young Syrians offered to donate the toys and clothes that were donated to them by other Canadians not long ago.

"It’s not easy to lose everything. We can understand them more than anyone in Canada. We were in the same situation,” Rita Khanchet told The Calgary Herald. “Me and my family wanted to do something for these people. Canadian society helped us when we came to Canada.”

Khanchet reached out to fellow refugees through a Facebook support group. “All the Syrians are saying, ‘I’m ready to give, I’m ready to give,’ ” Saima Jamal, a co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group, told the paper. “It’s amazing. You have to understand how little these guys have…but they understand the idea of an entire city losing their home. That’s something they can easily relate to. They went through that.”

This video, shot by a firefighter in the town, gives a sense of what locals are dealing with: