UNICEF Lebanon Humanitarian Situation Report No. 7: 4 August to 17 September 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



• UNICEF assisted 15,404 people with temporary access to adequate quantity of safe water for drinking and domestic use and reached over 17,205 affected people with public health awareness messages.

• UNICEF reached 1,537 parents and primary caregivers with communitybased mental health and psycho-social support, and provided 1,203 girls and women with psycho-social first aid, psycho-social support and information on gender-based violence risks.

• UNICEF provided 905 youth with employment or income generation opportunities as part of a community-based response, including minor rehabilitation of households, installation of water tanks, cooking of hot meals, and production and distribution on fabric masks amid the rising COVID-19 cases.

• UNICEF provided 4,088 counselling sessions to primary caregivers of children under two years raising awareness on healthy infant and young child feeding practices.

• Emergency designed and launched a large-scale Emergency Cash Grant for Children and Vulnerable Groups reaching up to 80,000 affected people.

• UNICEF distributed critical humanitarian supplies and COVID-19 protection and hygiene supplies worth over half a million US dollars.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The consequences of the explosion on 4 August at the Beirut port will likely be felt for years to come, as the country in its entirety continues to grapple with a spiraling economy, surging COVID-19 epidemic and fragile political environment. More than 6,500 people have been injured, including 1,000 children, 100,000 children saw their homes either completely or partially destroyed, and up to 600,000 children are estimated to have experienced some form of psychological distress and need psycho-social support.
Due to another massive fire at the duty-free area of the Beirut port on 10 September, several previously affected people reportedly left the area fearing a new explosion and humanitarian actors reported high levels of stress among both children and adults.
Many families whose home were destroyed continue to live in a temporary place, often with relatives. Displacement and overcrowding increases risksfor COVID-19 transmission, and/or sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) with children and women being at particular risk. Relocation in many instances is for an indefinite period, some are expected to return only one year after the explosion.
The dire economic situation and high inflation rate is heavily impacting the affected population due to loss of assets, property and livelihoods. Needs assessments continue, aiming to reflect changes in needs of affected population, highlighting the continuous need for food supplies, cash assistance, hygiene kits, rehabilitation support and psychosocial support. The most recent UNICEF tent rapid needs assessment showed that every third households reported having a child and 28 percent an adult family member with negative behaviors or reactions after the explosion, while in previous assessments, these rates were at around 50 percent.
Food intake has dropped according to the Food Security sector, and money to buy food and fuel and access to cooking facilities remain key concerns of affected families. Early September, WFP shipments arrived in Lebanon with 12,500 metric tons of wheat flour, to cover the loss of 15,000 metric tons of grain stocks due to the explosion and improve food availability and food safety.
UNICEF partners raised issues of discrimination and stigma during service provision. Refugees seeking humanitarian services reported discrimination from host communities, while vulnerable Lebanese communities displayed a shy behavior in approaching services due to potential stigmatization within the community. Partners are continuing a door-to-door approach, which not only helps avoiding stigma and discrimination but also reaching children living with disabilities who are not able to visit UNICEF tents in the area.
COVID-19 cases continue rising after a jump within the first week after the explosion and reached a total of over 26,700 cases compared to 5,000 before the explosion. As of 16 September, 838 health workers were tested positive, and around 70 percent of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are occupied; Since 4 August, UNICEF was also able to deliver more than US$3.5 million worth of critical PPE and IPC kits - especially critical as 10 containers of PPE were destroyed in the explosions.