Lebanese children's needs remain acute 1 year after Beirut Port blast: UNICEF

Published August 4, 2021, 6:24 AM

by Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS — One year after the devastating Beirut Port blast, the needs of affected children and families remain acute, magnified by a collapsing economy, political instability and the COVID-19 pandemic, said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday.

A woman visits a photo exhibition marking the first anniversary of the devastating Beirut Port blast, at the headquarters of Beirut Fire Brigade in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 3, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Zongya)

Seven in 10 households requested basic assistance after the blast and almost all of those families still need support. Most of the requests were for cash assistance and food, which remains the case, the UNICEF finds in a survey.

A third of the families with children under the age of 18 said at least one child in their household was still showing signs of psychological distress, according to the survey based on telephone interviews conducted in July with 1,187 households.

Four in 10 households (43.6 percent) have at least one family member who lost employment because of the blast, with half of them saying they have not resumed work. Making matters worse, one in four said they had at least one family member who tested positive for COVID-19 during the past 12 months.

Nearly half of the families had at least one adult injured in the blast. Of those, more than one in 10 (12.1 percent) said at least one adult had not recovered yet. Among households that have children, the figures are 18.7 percent and 8.1 percent respectively.

Almost all families (97 percent) said their homes needed repairs after the explosions and about half of those said this is still the case. Of the families with at least one child under 18, one in five still lives in a temporary place.

Four in 10 households said their water supply system was affected by the explosions, and about a quarter of those families said this is still the case, according to the survey, whose results were released on the eve of the first anniversary of the Beirut Port blast.