BEIRUT BLAST: WE ARE READYING TO PROVIDE PEOPLE WITH SERVICES TO COVER WATER AND SHELTER NEEDS
[The picture shows the partment of a WeWorld staff member in Beirut, in the aftermath of the explosion]
Shelters, food and Covid-19 response kits are urgently needed in Lebanon following an explosion that killed more than 150 people and left thousands injured in the capital, Beirut.
An estimated 250,000 people are thought to have been left homeless following the blasts, occurred on 4th August. Hospitals, which were already running at full capacity to cope with the global pandemic, are now on the brink of collapsing. A situation aggravated by the fact that at least three hospitals in Beirut were destroyed by the blasts.
The incident has also affected food supplies in the country, which imports foods and other essential goods from other nations.
“There are several needs that must be addressed urgently: shelters, food security and also hygiene supplies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained Pauline Pruvost-Czapek, Advocacy and Communication Coordinator at WeWorld- GVC Lebanon.
We are coordinating with organisations on the ground and are readying to provide people whose homes have been destroyed with services to cover their water and shelter needs.
Economic crisis and impact on children
[The picture shows the impact of the blast on a school building in Beirut. August 2020]
When Covid-19 reached Lebanon earlier this year, we readapted our activities to continue to support children’s education as schools closed due to a lockdown. More than 20 schools in Beirut are believed to have been affected during the explosion and they need to be rehabilitated, meaning that this could further delay a decision to reopen schools in the capital.
In this current crisis sparked by the pandemic, we have been supporting children and their families by sending them remote distance educational and recreational activities. However, the different learning disruptions, combined with the aggravation of inequalities and the recent incident in Beirut could jeopardise the lives of children, their parents and teachers and could have long-term consequences on their living conditions.
“As Weworld-GVC, our work with children here in Lebanon is strictly related to the education aspect,” said Francesca Anastasia, Emergency Program Coordinator at WeWorld-GVC Lebanon.
“However, we can say that the explosions will have a psychological impact on children. No-one expected this disaster and if you are a child and you experience something like this, it is difficult to handle and there will be an impact.”
Before the explosion, Lebanon was already experiencing a deep economic crisis and waves of protests calling for social changes and an end to corruption. The global pandemic further exacerbated economic stagnation and prompted the government to declare a nationwide lockdown.
“Last week the situation was already critical in terms of the economy. People were struggling even to find food and were starting to starve,” explained Pauline.
“Every segment of society is being affected by the economic crisis: the middle class is becoming poor and the poor are becoming extremely poor. People thought it could not get worse. Then this happened.”
We have been working in Lebanon since 2006, concentrating much of our intervention to support and protect the most vulnerable, guarantee the rights of boys and girls and ensure they are able to go to school. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the explosions and their families.
Our colleagues on the ground are safe and will continue to support those in need.