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War Child Steps Up Support for the People of Beirut

Pays
Liban
Sources
War Child
Date de publication

Beirut is the centre of a massive clean-up operation - as people come together to set up emergency support services following last week's explosions. Yet shelter remains scarce. Food supplies are heavily disrupted - and the threat of a prolonged humanitarian crisis is increasing. Find out how our staff in Lebanon are working to meet urgent needs...

The devastating impact of the Beirut explosions continue to be felt. More than 300,000 people have been made homeless. At the time of writing 171 people have been reported killed and 5,000 wounded - 1,000 of whom are children - while hundreds more are still missing.

Damage to the city's docks destroyed an estimated 120,000 metric tonnes of food stocks. And according to UNICEF, 100,000 children have had their homes damaged and are displaced, while 120 schools serving 55,000 children are in various states of disrepair.

The city's residents are in shock and dealing with trauma - yet their spirits are not broken. Lebanese people have opened their doors to host survivors. They have also set up community kitchens and other basic emergency support services.

"What I remember most from those few hours following the explosion was the kindness of Lebanese people," says War Child researcher Felicity Brown. "The pharmacist who first cleaned my cuts was patient and resourceful - even though he was exhausted by that time and some things were out of stock."

Rapid response

War Child staff in Lebanon have been on the ground in Beirut since the day after the explosions - helping in any way possible. They are cleaning up debris and offering food and water. They are also providing clothing and psychosocial support to those people most affected by the blast.

Yet there is much more to do. In the coming weeks it is expected that food items will become increasingly expensive and scarce. Many people are expected to remain homeless for months to come. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a serious threat. And in the absence of proper shelter and health services, the onset of winter is expected to take a heavy toll on infants and young children.

Providing sustained support

War Child will in the months to come step up efforts to provide psychosocial care and support to children and families experiencing shock and continuing trauma. These efforts will be built on the foundations of our ongoing programme - including our work amongst refugees and our most recent work to shield children and families from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will also work with our partners on the ground to meet immediate humanitarian needs. We will take part in efforts to build temporary homes and find shelter for displaced people. We will also support efforts to deliver food to the most vulnerable people.

War Child humanitarian director Dr. Unni Krishnan warns that the road to recovery will be a long one. "People in Lebanon are facing multiple crises, unfolding simultaneously," he says. "Relief and recovery are not going to be a short sprint but a long marathon."

"In this complex humanitarian setting, when there are a hundred things to be done, meeting the needs of children is a great place to start."