By Vatican News staff writer
It’s been 100 days since a massive explosion tore through the port of Beirut, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
A new report published on Wednesday by the UN children’s agency UNICEF warns that many children and families still remain in need of “crucial support” months on from the disaster.
Entitled “Rising from Destruction. 100 days of UNICEF’s response to the Beirut explosions and the road ahead for children and families,” the findings paint a distressing picture.
Trauma of explosion
The report highlights that many children have been affected by trauma both during and after the explosions, and the charity is working to provide parents, primary caregivers and kids with psychosocial support.
Twelve-year-old Hussein is just one of the children who has received this kind of help.
“I stopped using colour on my drawings that show my life because everything changed on that day,” he said.
Hussein lives in the city’s Karantina neighbourhood which was one of the worst affected. Now ten weeks on from the disaster, Hussein and many children like him are learning to smile again. “The colour is back in my life again,” he said.
According to UNICEF Lebanon Representative Yukie Mokuo, “While the immediate scars are starting to heal, thanks to extraordinary efforts on the ground, the deep wounds – both visible and invisible – of children and families in a country experiencing multiple emergencies will require sustained solidarity, commitment and support.”
Over the last several weeks, UNICEF and its partners have provided over 22,000 children under age five with essential nutrition supplements, including Vitamin A, high energy biscuits and emergency food rations.
It has also re-established water supply connection in 1,060 buildings, reaching thousands of people, and water tanks have been installed in three heavily affected hospitals.
Although much work has been done to alleviate suffering, the children’s agency stresses that the “sheer number of children, parents, and caregivers who remain in need of support, however, means that increased funding for key programmes, including child protection, is urgently required.”