The devastating blast in the city’s port area has left an estimated 300,000 people homeless, according to the government of Beirut.
With nearly 5,000 injured and many still missing, Plan International is particularly concerned for the wellbeing of children and adolescents who have lost or become separated from family, leaving them vulnerable to mental trauma, exploitation and gender-based violence.
Our priority is food for families and children
Colin Lee, Plan International’s Country Director for Lebanon, said: “It’s clear that the path to recovery from this devastating crisis will be difficult and long. Whole streets are just not there anymore, and rubble is still falling from the shells left of apartment blocks.
“In co-ordination with local government, local partners and other humanitarian organisations in Lebanon, our immediate priority is to make sure children and families have access to food. We are also supporting search and rescue efforts and distributing essential household items.
In the days and weeks ahead, we stand ready to help families rebuild their lives.
“In the days and weeks ahead, we also stand ready to help families rebuild their lives. Many of us are still in shock at the scale of the devastation, and we don’t yet know the true scale of the damage. But we do know that children will bear the scars of what they’ve witnessed for a long time, with profound consequences for their mental health.
“We are particularly concerned about the impact this disaster will have on adolescent girls, who are uniquely vulnerable. Displaced girls are now living in shared accommodation or in dangerous buildings – most no longer have locks on their doors, their windows are shattered and electricity and water supplies have been affected leaving them with no power at night.
“We also need to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and that this crisis comes at a time when Lebanon’s health system was already stretched to full capacity. The economic, social and psychological impact on a community who were already vulnerable will be profound, and many, particularly girls, may never recover without a concerted effort from us all.”
Programmes remain operational
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Plan International has been providing child protection and sexual and reproductive health services in Lebanon, both for the host and displaced populations. All of these programmes remain operational.