Save the Children teams in Beirut are working around the clock to help children and families affected by the deadly explosion.
There are reports that about 300,000 people, including over 100,000 children, were made homeless by the blast which ripped through the heart of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday.
The humanitarian agency has been supporting affected families it already works with. In the coming weeks it will be providing food relief, personal hygiene items, and psychological first aid for children and caregivers. It will also focus on family tracing and reunification work, as children have been reported to be separated from their loved ones during the chaos of the blast.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds said:
“In a country already under enormous strain from hosting 1.5m refugees, battling COVID-19 and a pre-existing social economic crisis, this disaster could not have come at a worse time.
Half a million children were already struggling to survive - this tragedy will now make that even worse. Children will be impacted both physically and emotionally, and the recovery process will be long and particularly complex in the midst of a pandemic.
“Save the Children staff in Beirut, many of whom were affected themselves, have been working around the clock to reach the many, many children and families we work with in the area to check they are ok, and to assess their needs. At the same time we are readying to mount a wider humanitarian response.
“In Australia, we are urging the public to support our Children’s Emergency Fund, which helps children affected by crises all over the world, and will help support our response in Beirut as well as the broader economic and health crisis in Lebanon.”
Mr Ronalds expressed particular concern for vulnerable children.
“It is really important that children are protected from harm and that they have people they trust to talk to.
“It will also be increasingly important that there is a system set up to reunify children with their parents or other family members if they have become separated, with so many homes destroyed and so many injured in hospitals across the city.
“Such a system is complicated to manage, but it is an area where Save the Children has expertise and our team in Beirut is ready to support this if needed.
“We have a long history working in Lebanon and we are ready to do whatever is needed to help those affected.”
Analysis by Save the Children that was published only last week, showed that over half a million children in greater Beirut were already struggling to survive or were even going hungry – and this explosion will have only made their situation worse.”
To donate to our Children’s Emergency Fund, go to: www.savethechildren.org.au/beirut.
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