Psychosocial wellbeing of girls and boys post-Beirut explosion

A qualitative assessment of children’s behaviour in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion

The massive explosion that shook Beirut’s port on 4 August 2020 caused widespread damage as far as the outskirts of Beirut.

Individuals were killed and more than 6,500 were injured. More than 47,000 apartments sustained some level of damage as well as at least 163 public and private schools serving 85,000 students.

The explosion hit Beirut at a time when Lebanon was already facing a severe economic, financial and socio-political crisis that is compounded by the COVID-19 outbreak, limiting access to services and opportunities.

According to UNICEF, around 1,000 children were injured and 100,000 saw their homes either completely or partially destroyed.

Just as in many other emergencies, children affected by similar traumatising events, loss, separation or drastic changes in social and living conditions are likely to experience a number of distressing psychological reactions, which might have short or long-term impacts on children’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. The explosion has also affected children’s families, their community structures and schools, increased the risks and exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.

To capture the impact of the Beirut explosion on children’s psychosocial wellbeing and highlight perceived trends, experiences, priorities and coping mechanisms of children and parents in the aftermath of the event, Plan International Lebanon and Right to Play conducted this joint qualitative assessment of children’s behaviour during psychosocial sessions and interviews with parents.

Data was collected 1 month after the explosion; hence parents were able to report on the immediate impact of the explosion on children as well as the after-effect of the explosion on daily stressors, children’s noticed behaviour and wellbeing.

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Emergencies, Protection from violence, Child protection in emergencies