- Explosion compounded already desperate situation caused by COVID-19 and economic crisis
- 541,000 children are at increased risk of forced child marriage and child labour
- Many also at high risks of mental health challenges
4th February, 2021 International aid agency, World Vision, today said that even though the emergency response to the Beirut blast, which took place six months ago, was swift and largely effective, children and their families are struggling more than ever. In fact, their situation has never been worse.
The explosion added to a crisis situation that was already taking place because of COVID-19. Schools are closed, health facilities are not accessible, families cannot work or afford food and water is not running. The result is chronic; 541,000 vulnerable children are at risk of child labour and child marriage as their families struggle to support them. Numbers of children and caregivers reporting mental health and psycho social support concerns are on the rise, and if left unsupported, this will put children at high risks of mental health challenges.
Speaking today from Beirut Hans Bederski, World Vision Lebanon’s Country Director said, "The World Vision team in Lebanon is extremely grateful to those who provided immediate support following the explosion, but we ask you to remember that just because they have left the news headlines, it does not mean the people of Beirut no longer need help. The emergency situation following the explosion may have calmed, however the Lebanese people still struggle to survive numerous ongoing crises. COVID-19 has left parents with no work and their children with no access to education and at risk of forced labour and marriage. It is almost impossible for people in Lebanon to overcome this dire situation on their own. We call on the international community to prioritise the children of Lebanon who are facing an impossible situation. If we do not act now, the protection and well-being of thousands of children will be jeopardised.”
World Vision calls on the international community to invest in keeping children in schools and prioritise child protection and mental health support. The aid agency will continue to plan for future emergency interventions to address emerging needs of 163,000 people impacted by the explosion. It is responding to the numerous crises faced by the people of Lebanon and is delivering child protection programming, water, sanitation and hygiene, basic assistance and livelihood, shelter and education.
“Six months ago, families in Beirut who were already struggling to survive COVID-19 and an economic crisis were forced to deal with another catastrophe in the form of a devastating explosion. Six months later they have not recovered. In fact, things are worse for them. We call for international solidarity for the people of Lebanon, they are in no less of a crisis situation now than they were on August 4th" said Rami Sharma
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
World Vision has been working in Lebanon since the onset of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975 and continues to assist Lebanese families in addition to refugee communities through emergency relief, development projects, as well as advocacy.
For further information please contact: Josephine Haddad - Public Affairs and Communications Manager - Email: Josephine_haddad@wvi.org - Phone: +9613041967