UNICEF is sad and shocked at Beirut explosions, concerned about wellbeing of children, supporting partners on the ground

5th August 2020

STATEMENT

From Ms. Yukie Mokuo UNICEF Representative in Lebanon 

man carries injured girl beirut
A man carries away an injured girl while walking through debris in the Achrafiyeh district of Beirut on August 4, 2020, following an explosion at the nearby port of Beirut © UNICEF/UNI356270/Tahtah/AFP

BEIRUT, 5 August 2020 – “UNICEF is saddened at the loss of life following the horrific explosions in Lebanon.

“According to latest reports, the death toll could be as high as 100 with 4,000 wounded and over 300,000 people displaced. UNICEF is concerned that children are among the casualties and we are aware that those who survived are traumatized and under shock.

“Our hearts are with children and families who have been impacted, especially those who lost their loved ones. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

“UNICEF’s team in Beirut has not been spared. One of our colleagues lost his spouse, seven of our staff were mildly injured and dozens of personnel’s homes were damaged. Most of our staff- as are most people in Lebanon- are in a state of shock.

“UNICEF is coordinating very closely with authorities and partners on the ground to respond to the needs including of health and other front-line workers. We have provided drinking water to staff at the Beirut port and are supporting the Ministry of Public Health to take out what is left of stored medicines and vaccines in a warehouse at the port. Child protection partners are providing psycho-social support to affected children across the city. Over the coming days, we will increase our efforts to reach families in need with much needed assistance.

“Yesterday’s catastrophe in Beirut adds to what has already been a terrible crisis for the people of Lebanon compounded by an economic collapse and a surge in COVID-19 cases. The pandemic already meant that hospitals are overwhelmed, and front-line workers are exhausted.

“UNICEF confirms its commitment towards the people of Lebanon, the authorities and all partners on the ground. We are on the ground and will do everything possible to provide much needed assistance today and in the long run.

ENDS

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Notes for editors:

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For more information, please contact:

Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland, aedin@unicef.ie, Tel:m+353 85 1395272

Juliette Touma, UNICEF MENA Regional Office, jtouma@unicef.org, +962-79-867-4628

Hasan Nabulsi, UNICEF MENA Regional Office, hnabulsi@unicef.org, +962-79-136-84-05

Ralph El-Hage, UNICEF Lebanon, relhage@unicef.org, +961-3-526-679

Photo: © UNICEF/UNI356239/Amro/AFP