children at risk six months after blast

Six months after the Beirut blast, which rocked the Lebanese capital, World Vision Australia reports that more than half a million children are at risk of child marriage, forced labour and mental health issues.

Reportedly, more than 540,000 children in Lebanon are at risk as they and their families do it tougher than ever following the mammoth explosion, which heaped another layer of suffering on the residents of Beirut who were already dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and crippling economic crisis.

“The emergency situation following the explosion may have calmed, but the Lebanese people still struggle to survive numerous ongoing crises,” says World Vision Lebanon Country Director, Hans Bederski.

“Covid-19 has left parents with no work and their children with no access to education and at risk of forced labour and marriage.

“It is almost impossible for these people to overcome this dire situation on their own.”

In light of this, Mr Bederski is calling on the “international community to prioritise the children of Lebanon who are facing an impossible situation”.

“If we do not act now, the protection and wellbeing of thousands of children will be jeopardised,” he says.

Invest in keeping children safe

Reportedly, despite a swift global response to the blast, schools remain closed and health facilities are still not accessible in the region, and many families are unable to work or afford food, and water is not running.

According to World Vision, the current situation has resulted in the number of mental health and psycho-social support concerns soaring, exposing children to high risks of mental health problems.

In response to this, World Vision is calling on the world to invest in keeping children in schools and prioritising child protection and mental health support.

In a statement released by World Vision, the aid agency will continue to plan for future emergency to address the needs of 163,000 people impacted by the explosion.

It is reportedly responding with child protection programs, water, sanitation, hygiene, livelihood assistance, shelter and education.

“Six months ago, families in Beirut who were already struggling to survive Covid-19 and an economic crisis were forced to deal with another catastrophe in the form of a devasting explosion.

“Six months later they have not recovered. In fact, things are worse for them,” says Mr Bederski, calling for “international solidarity for the people of Lebanon”.

“They are in no less of a crisis situation now, than they were on 4 August.”

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Feature image: World Vision

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