Women and girls are the fire fighters, nurses, doctors, caregivers, social workers, community members and leaders, domestic workers, paramedics, pharmacists, reporters, survivors, and community volunteers, who play a critical role in any crisis including # Beirut Blast.
Staying safe while actively contributing to first-line response can be an extra challenge. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration a set of safety risks that might be associated with the situation, including crowded places, challenging settings, isolated places, and poor lighting conditions. It is also essential to remain vigilant and observe Covid-19 precautionary measures in order to minimize risks related to the spread of the virus.
The recommendations below are meant to highlight possible risks and promote the safety of women and girls who engage in the response:
Working in groups is the best way to limit risks that can cause harm. Try to work in the same location where your group is. Keep an eye on each other and you may want to check in with others in case you are part of a large group or you are covering a wide area.
Avoid as much as possible working in unsafe areas, such as badly lighted or deserted areas and isolated alleys.
Avoid as much as possible working after dark, and during the night; keep a whistle with you to use when you feel unsafe.
Keep your phone battery fully charged at all times, and know very well key emergency contacts, such as Lebanese Red Cross (140), Police (112), Civil Defense (125), as well as the phone number of someone you trust.
Ensure to have masks, water, hygiene and hats or helmets with you while working.
In case you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel unsafe, or threatened it is important to draw boundaries, or even scream, and seek support of trusted people.
In case your house was destroyed, many people might offer shelter. While this might be very welcome, be cautious and ask as many questions as you want on the proposed shelter, including details of the housing, and who you would be sharing the house with.
In case you are subject to harm, this is not your fault and you are not alone. You can contact organizations in the Beirut and Mount Lebanon area working on gender-based violence, such as KAFA (03- 018 019), ABAAD (81 788 178), the Lebanese Women’s Democratic Gathering RDFL (71- 500 808), Makhzoumi (81 742 414), LECORVAW (03 829 809), INTERSOS (81 315 288), Concern world Wide (81 832 405), Heartland alliance (78 135 788), Acted (71 912 345) that can provide the needed support.
Responding to emergency incidents can be stressful and emotionally overwhelming. In case you realize that you need mental health support, you can reach out to the “Embrace “hotline for the national mental health Programme on 1564.
Share this information with your peers and others. It can be helpful for other women and girls to access this information; in case they might need any support when experiencing threat or harm.