Devastating impact of Beirut explosions on children still being revealed
Humanitarian crisis continues to develop in the city
UNICEF SPOKESPEOPLE IN LEBANON ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
BEIRUT/GENEVA/DUBLIN, 11 August 2020 – One week after catastrophic explosions killed at least 140 people and forced 300,000 people, including 80,000 children, from their homes in Beirut, Lebanon, the full impact of the disaster on children is still being revealed.
UNICEF’s partners estimate that approximately a thousand children are among the injured, however this morning, UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado, told a briefing in Geneva that full extent of the devastation is still not yet known. “We are a long way from having comprehensive figures on deaths and injuries among children. For now, we know of at least three children killed and 31 children who required hospitalisation. Partners report approximately a thousand children among the injured.”
In affected areas many families do not have access to clean water supply because of damages to water connections. Twenty public technical and vocational education and training schools that cater for around 8,000 adolescents and young persons have been damaged, in addition to 120 public and private schools.
Last week’s disaster in Beirut has compounded existing economic challenges in Lebanon, as well as surging rates of COVID-19. The pandemic already meant that hospitals were overwhelmed, and front-line workers exhausted.
UNICEF has rapidly scaled up its response and assistance to children and families in the country. Providing precautionary tetanus vaccination shots for the injured. Shipping Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, including 3.5 million surgical masks. UNICEF has also set up a tent in downtown Beirut that is being used by partners to provide psychological first aid to children and caregivers, and to refer those who need other services including shelter, water, food, or hygiene items.
Damaged health care facilities, schools and water connections will need to be rehabilitated, and emergency cash assistance for the most vulnerable families, including health and logistics workers, is also crucially needed. In response to the still unfolding scale of the disaster, UNICEF Ireland has started an urgent Emergency Lebanon Appeal at www.unicef.ie
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