UNICEF launched an emergency child grant in June. The assistance aims to reach 70,000 of the most vulnerable children in Lebanon with cash transfers of US$40 for families with one child, up to US$80 for families for three or more children.
Work has commenced on the UNICEF-supported renovation and rebuilding of Quarantina University Public Hospital, which was heavily damaged in the Beirut port explosions. The new building, to be completed in early 2022, includes units for paediatrics, obstetrics and maternity, surgery and intensive care, and a primary health care centre.
Due to the ongoing risk of the collapse the public water supply, UNICEF is supporting Water Establishments to ensure continued water supply to an average of 1 million people per month.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF is appealing for US$94 million to respond to the urgent needs of over 495,000 people, including 154,000 children affected by the deepening economic crises in Lebanon and the Beirut explosion, including its secondary impacts. This appeal is in addition to and complements the humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis, which covers the needs of Syrian refugees and affected Lebanese host communities, as well as COVID-19 related needs.
UNICEF requires urgent funding to ensure that no child in Lebanon is left behind. Without sufficient and timely funding,
UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to Lebanon’s continuing crisis, and poor and vulnerable households with children will be left without access to basic services and needs.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Lebanon is facing an economic and financial crisis which ranks in the top three most severe crises globally since the mid-nineteenth century, according to the World Bank. The deteriorating socio-economic situation, exacerbated by COVID-19 and the Beirut explosion on 4 August 2020, is threatening the livelihoods and well-being of the most vulnerable people.
The Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value. Food prices increased staggering 222 per cent in the year to June 2021.
Poverty among the Lebanese almost doubled to 55 per cent in 2020, from 28 percent in 2018, while extreme poverty tripled from 8 percent2 . Eighty per cent of children in Lebanon are worse off than they were at the beginning of 2020, according to the Child-Focused Rapid Assessment3 conducted by UNICEF in April 2021. With no end in sight to the crisis, health, education and safety are at risk and children’s futures are at stake.
Increasing unemployment and increasing prices are impacting families’ ability to support their children. Thirty per cent of families had at least one child who skipped a meal or went to bed hungry in March 2021, and 77 per cent of households did not have enough food or enough money to buy food. Around 30 per cent of children in Lebanon are at risk of chronic malnutrition due to lack of access to food or to an appropriately diversified diet.4 The country is experiencing a breakdown in the delivery of basic services, such as water, power and fuel. More than four million people, including one million refugees, are at immediate risk of losing access to safe water, as the Water Establishments that pump water have run out of fuel and are not being maintained. Prolonged electricity outages are commonplace across the country, including in Beirut.
Some hospitals face closures if diesel stocks are not replenished, with hospitals already beginning to close their doors in parts of the country. Basic medicines, including antibiotics and painkillers, are in short supply, while life-saving medications are completely out of stock for children and adults. Some patients are resorting to reducing their daily dose of medicine because they cannot obtain new supplies from pharmacies. Hospitals are cancelling procedures due to shortages of essential supplies. Patients are not going to health facilities because they cannot afford care, nor the transportation.
This situation has complicated efforts to re-open schools, which have been closed since October 2019 (pre-COVID).
Unless children have the opportunity to go back to school this year, thousands could be without an education and may never return to learning. Currently, over 750,000 children are out of school, with a lack of services available to reach these most vulnerable children. Having exhausted all other options, families are taking desperate measures, including sending children to work, marrying off young girls, skipping meals and incurring debt. Children work in the streets, in agricultural fields and garages or on construction sites, where they are exposed to risks of exploitation, violence and abuse.