The aid agency Save the Children warned of children unaccounted for after a deadly explosion in Beirut that “wiped out entire streets,” according to a statement from the organization.
“We are shocked and devastated by the explosion today. The death toll may not be known for several days but what we do know is that in a disaster like this, children may be hurt, shocked, and separated from their parents,” said Jad Sakr, the organization’s director in Lebanon.
“It is vital that children and their families get access to the services they urgently need, including medical care and physical and emotional protection,” Sakr added.
The organization also reported that hospitals are “completely overwhelmed” and “unable to treat further casualties as hundreds of beds immediately filled up following the blast.” The agency described the explosion “as the biggest explosion in Lebanon’s recent history.”
“The incident could not have occurred at a worse time and has hit communities who were already suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the economic deterioration. Beirut’s main port, now completely damaged, is vital for much of the food, grains, and fuel that Lebanon imports, and families will immediately feel the shortage in basic needs as a result of this tragedy,” Sakr said.
Save the Children’s offices in Beirut were also badly damaged by the explosion.