War Child Stands in Solidarity with the People of Lebanon
Aug. 6, 2020
The massive explosion following a much smaller one this week in Beirut has caused extensive damage - leaving as many as 300,000 people homeless according to recent reports. Stress and insecurity among the city’s people was already high as a result of economic instability and the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the humanitarian situation has again worsened - as our Lebanon communications manager Ahmad Jaber explains. “We were already struggling to cope with the pandemic and the worst economic crisis the country has even seen,” he says. “And now this! I look around and the whole city is in ruins - shattered glasses and rubble everywhere. I’m not sure how we will overcome this.”
The burden of stress currently felt by the city’s inhabitants is significant. “My children didn't sleep all night - they kept asking me if there will be another war," says War Child programme manager Ghada Tawbeh. "I wasn’t sure where to stand when the explosion happened. I just held my daughter tight and started praying.”
War Child’s Beirut Office is temporarily closed at the time of writing. All staff are safe but some Beirut staff sustained minor injuries and are dealing with the trauma coming from their experience of the explosion and its aftermath. We are following up with those staff while as part of the coordinated joint effort of INGOs in Lebanon we are participating in assessing the damage and seeing how best to support affected people both directly and in partnership with other organisations.
Meeting urgent needs
Our immediate response to the explosion is dealing with the needs of our own staff while at the same time arranging for the volunteer team of War Child staff to work with others in assessing how to meet the most urgent needs. As part of the Psychological Task Force we will be offering PSS support to people including psychological first aid and case management. We will collaborate with other organisations and government services including the Lebanese Red Cross to make our specialist services available to people in need. We will also make psychosocial support and other identified needs available to children and caregivers directly impacted by the explosion.
Today (Thursday) some of our War Child staff volunteers will be participating in the clean-up of the Gemmayze / Mar Mikhael area next to the port where the explosion took place.
In addition to providing psychological support services available to people experiencing acute stress as a result of the blast, we are also actively exploring ways to support the need for shelter. War Child staff, like other INGOs and the people in Lebanon themselves, are offering places to stay for people who have lost their homes. We are also working together with some of our national and INGO partners in setting up shelters for people from Beirut and providing them with a place to stay plus food, medical care and other urgent needs.
In the coming weeks it is expected that serious food shortages will occur and we will participate in food distribution and possibly providing cash assistance.
Support our work in Lebanon
Our work to support vulnerable children - from both host and refugee communities - in Lebanon will continue. The vital work we do is more pressing than ever in the context of the current crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. But, as ever, we need your support.
Donate now - and ensure we can meet the most urgent needs as the situation develops.