“I feel different after the explosion. I’m always scared, and I still dream about the feeling of the blast. It keeps me awake at night.” says Hanan, 8 years old. UNICEF | Lebanon | Choufany
The consequences of the explosions that broke out at the Port of Beirut, on the 4th of August 2020, have been traumatic for both children and their families. Thousands of homes, schools and buildings were destroyed and thousands more people were severely injured.
Thanks to our generous supporters, we have been working in Lebanon for more than 72 years now and our 213 staff members in Beirut, we started to respond before the dust had even settled.
From identifying, tracing and reuniting children with their families, providing psycho-social support to families to delivering safe drinking water and emergency supplies to first responders, UNICEF was there thanks to the support of our generous donors.
Offering Immediate Relief to Children and their Families
In the 24 hours following the explosions, UNICEF mobilized staff members and supporters to clean the streets of debris and to distribute food and water to the children and families in need.
More than food, UNICEF has been leading the humanitarian efforts. The financial support we received helped to provide more than 67 tons of critical humanitarian supplies to first responders. These supplies include emergency food, water purification tablets, therapeutic milk for babies, medicines, surgical supplies and tetanus vaccines to protect children who have been injured by debris.
Thanks to our donors we could quickly respond and many children and families were saved just in time. In a matter of days, more than 300 children under 5 received life-saving nutritional supplements and medical care.
Bringing Hope Back to Affected Children
“I can’t remember when I last went to school and now that my school is destroyed I have no idea when I will be able to go again. Coming to the safety park helps – with the team from UNICEF we play games and we learn some easy things together.” says Adulkarim, 10 years old about how much he misses his school.
The lives of many children have been turned upside-down. But thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to give immediate shelter to isolated children and helped to reunite children and their families.
In addition to this, we have provided psycho-social support to 1,406 children, parents and caregivers. Children have been invited to play, draw and express their emotions in one of our safety parks.
More than 300,000 people, including 100,000 children, have lost their homes as a result of the explosions. However, thanks to the help of our donors, we are rebuilding Beirut. To help families recover, we have put in place a system of Emergency Cash Assistance programmes.
Because of this programme, families can buy what they need to live in dignity and rebuild their lives. In turn, this money will also benefit local businesses and the wider economy.
Many hospitals and healthcare centres have been destroyed. Together, we are supporting their reconstruction. We need to get the healthcare system back on track.
UNICEF is also helping to rebuild the schools. As Ahmad, a 40-year old father says: “Next month, schools should reopen. With no education, there will be no hope for the future.”
For children affected by terrible catastrophes as the explosion in Beirut, time is critical. We had to operate fast and we could not have done it without the support of our fantastic Irish donors.