Press briefing by Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva
GENEVA/BEIRUT, 26 AUGUST 2020 - First, on psychosocial support, which is a major programmatic priority: In a rapid needs assessment conducted by UNICEF and partners, which took place between 10 and 17 August, half of respondents reported that children in their households were showing changes in behavior or signs of trauma or extreme stress following the explosions. These behaviours and symptoms can include severe anxiety; quietness or withdrawing from parents and families; nightmares and trouble sleeping; and aggressive behavior. One-third of households also reported negative symptoms among adults.
It is clear the needs are immense. Many children will require urgent and sustained psychosocial support to address the trauma of the explosions. UNICEF’s psychosocial support comes in the form of psychosocial kits for children and parents; setting up child-friendly spaces in affected areas; and the provision of more specialized, intensive, and longer-term support for those who need it.
A little more on the wider impact of the blasts. According to the latest information:
And some of what we have been able to do so far, with partners:
UNICEF requires US$46.7 million to respond to the immediate needs of children and families over the next three months. The response focuses on keeping children safe; rehabilitating basic essential services; and equipping adolescents and young people with skills they need to be part of the effort to rebuild their country – all while limiting the spread of COVID-19.