Statement on Beirut Explosion

Save the Children Philippines expresses concern over thousands of Filipino mothers working in Lebanon

Type: Story

Save the Children Philippines expresses concern over thousands of Filipino mothers working in Lebanon

Save the Children Philippines condoles the loss of lives and massive devastation in Lebanon’s capital Beirut following a catastrophic explosion on Wednesday where two Filipinos have been confirmed dead with eight injured and 11 missing.

Lebanon is home to about 33,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) where most are domestic helpers according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“We are deeply concerned on the welfare of our OFWs, especially the mothers who sacrificed being away from their children so they can send them to school, and provide for their basic needs,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.

Save the Children’s offices in Beirut, located around five kilometers from the harbor, also sustained some damage, but its Child Protection and rapid response teams are on standby to support government’s efforts to attend to the needs of children who may be hurt, shocked, and separated from their parents.

“Our hearts go out to the Lebanese people, as well as to our OFWs and their families who are severely affected by the disaster which happened at the most trying times of a pandemic,” Muyot said.

Fears for children in Beirut explosion, as hospitals are completely overwhelmed

A huge explosion in the Lebanese capital has devastated communities within a 10km radius. The circumstances of the explosion are not yet known, but Save the Children teams on the ground reported entire streets wiped out, with children unaccounted for as rescue teams work through destroyed buildings to get people out of the rubble. Residential and commercial buildings have been shattered in what is being described as the biggest explosion in Lebanon's recent history.


Hospitals in Beirut are reporting that they are unable to treat further casualties as hundreds of beds immediately filled up following the blast. A further hospital in the capital has been completely decimated. The military have deployed to rescue those caught in the wreckage, with medical personnel treating casualties on the streets.


Save the Children confirms that its offices in Beirut, around five kilometres from the harbour, were badly damaged in the explosion, which shook the building and destroyed shop fronts in the neighbourhood. Our rapid response team stand by prepared to support the government in their efforts in the coming days.


One of our staff members, Nour Wahid, who lives 10 minutes away, said, “At first, the building started to shake- I thought it was an earthquake. Five of my nieces and nephews were out on the balcony playing when the blast went off. They started to scream and run as the windows collapsed around them; they were all wounded. Hospitals told us they couldn’t take them in because they were prioritising serious injuries.”


Jad Sakr, Save the Children’s Country Director in Lebanon, said:
"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. Our Child Protection teams are ready to support the government’s efforts which will almost certainly go on for several days to come. It is vital that children and their families get access to the services they urgently need, including medical care and physical and emotional protection


"The incident could not have occurred at a worst 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."
 

 

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