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Plan Staff Feb 22, 2021

The Beirut explosion: what is happening in Lebanon now? 

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Plan Staff | Feb 22, 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is happening in Lebanon after the deadly explosion on August 4, 2020? 

The explosion in Beirut displaced 300,000 people: 81,000 women and up to 100,000 children. With the loss of more than 200 people and 6,500 injured, the region lost six hospitals, 20 health clinics, and 16 Primary Health Care Centres, along with 178 schools.  

Additionally, with the explosion happening in the middle of the pandemic and during an already troublesome economic crisis, it contributed to further salary reductions and unemployment, as well as leaving a spike in COVID-19 cases in its wake, overwhelming already challenged health facilities.  At present, Beirut has been in a complete lockdown since January 14, leaving vulnerable and at-risk children stuck at home. To make matters more difficult, as of January 8, all public and private hospitals announced their inability to accept new patients due to overcrowding in the ICUs and hospital beds. 

But thanks to responsive and passionate donors, who helped with a quick emergency response, Plan International – with local partners – were able to provide vital resources helping address the immediate needs of girls, boys and young women most affected by the explosion.

Here are just a few impacts made possible in Lebanon:

  1. Children will be receiving student kits packed with essentials like pens, notebooks and hygiene items, along with COVID-19 awareness messaging, helping ensure they can continue to safely learn and regain some stability.
  2. 1,131 hygiene kits (including sanitary items like menstrual pads and diapers) have been distributed to those most in need.
  3. Protection for children was provided remotely through programs focused on helping manage and reduce distress, while fostering positive coping mechanisms to promote healing.
  4. Our partners distributed 20,000 packs of prenatal vitamins including vitamin D and zinc to vulnerable groups like pregnant women.

 “I want my children to live in a safe and healthy environment. We the parents can control our feelings, but our children are so upset as they thought they were safe. Psychosocial activities are being held in the garden right beside our house [by Plan International], so I’m letting my children join them daily to help reduce the psychological pressure and stress they are under.” - Fatmeh, a mother in Lebanon whose family benefited from Plan International supported programs

Woman in face mask holding her toddler in her arms
Fatmeh* holding her daughter after the explosion  

Fatmeh and her children have received support through relief aid and hygiene kits, thanks to the generosity of our donors.  

Image on left is Plan International staff delivering supplies. Image on right is Plan International staff holding a box of supplies.
Local Plan staff delivering essentials for hard-hit areas within Lebanon

All these efforts, made possible in part through Canadians’ contributions, are offering improved quality of life to affected families, while helping support full community recovery.  

We can’t thank donors enough for acting quickly to reduce the impact of this tragic disaster, and its negative ripple effects on local children – especially girls, who are at even greater risk as a result of the lockdown. Even now, your generosity touches the lives of those you helped protect and empower through this difficult time, standing with them by sharing help and hope as they work to recover, rebuild and overcome, together. 

Plan International-supported efforts will go on to help reach more than 30,000 people in Lebanon with related assistance.  

Today, donors can continue to support those most vulnerable to the ongoing effects and setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic through our new COVID-19 response gifts.  

Learn more about how COVID-19 is exacerbating humanitarian crises

*Names changed for protection purposes.