UNICEF responding to destruction in Lebanon
Devastating explosions in Beirut have added to an already terrible crisis for the people of Lebanon.
Even before explosions in Beirut on 4 August 2020 claimed at least 180 lives, and left thousands more injured, the situation for many children and families across Lebanon was precarious as they faced political instability, a battered economy, unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic. A month on, urgent support and action is needed to help families cope and to keep children learning.
Read UNICEF Lebanon’s short report, “Everything around me is in ruins”, highlighting the impact of the explosions on children and families in Beirut and UNICEF’s response.
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What happened in Beirut?
On 4 August, two explosions ripped through the port area of Lebanon’s capital, leaving at least 180 dead and an estimated 6,500 injured. The blasts destroyed and damaged buildings across the city. Six major hospitals and 20 clinics sustained partial or heavy structural damage, while the port – the country’s lifeline for vital supplies – was severely damaged in the explosion, with some parts completely destroyed. Meanwhile, at least 183 educational facilities were damaged, affecting more than 77,000 children and youth.
How many children are affected?
Amidst the chaos, the impact on children has been severe. In a rapid assessment conducted by UNICEF’s partners between 10 and 24 August, half of the respondents said that children in their households were showing changes in behaviour or signs of trauma or extreme stress. UNICEF estimates that around 100,000 children could be among those whose homes were damaged or destroyed, while some 600,000 could be in need of psychosocial support.
How is UNICEF helping?
UNICEF, together with partners from the Lebanese government, municipalities, local and international NGOs, the private sector and UN agencies, are working around the clock to respond to this catastrophic situation. So far, UNICEF and partners have:
- Delivered 18 shipments of critical humanitarian supplies in addition to local procurement of emergency supplies
- Re-connected more than 155 buildings to the public water system and installed more than 870 water tanks in damaged households
- Distributed almost 4,500 hygiene kits to affected families
- Distributed more than 430,000 fabric masks to the affected population
- Provided Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to primary healthcare centres and dispensaries and provided immunization services
- Supported around 1,900 youth in responding through activities including cleaning, minor rehabilitation of households, and preparation and distribution of meals for vulnerable families
How you can help
This catastrophic explosion further worsened the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic emergency facing the Lebanese people. The needs for children and families are immediate and they are huge.
UNICEF is appealing for $50 million to respond to the immediate needs of children and families over the next three months. The response focuses on the psycho-social needs of children and caregivers, keeping children safe; rehabilitating basic essential services; and equipping adolescents and young people with skills they need to be part of the effort to rebuild their country – all while limiting the spread of COVID-19. Help UNICEF respond to the destruction in Lebanon: