Escalating crisis puts children at risk as the majority of families cannot afford to meet their children’s basic needs

BEIRUT, July 1, 2021 – Children of Lebanon are the most affected by one of the world’s worst economic collapses in recent times[1], according to a survey released today by UNICEF.

A series of mutually reinforcing crises, including a devastating recession, have left families and children in Lebanon in dire straits, affecting just about every aspect of their lives, with few resources and virtually no access to health. ‘welfare.

“With no improvement in sight, more children than ever are going to bed hungry in Lebanon. Children’s health, education and even their future are affected by soaring prices and rising unemployment. More and more families are forced to resort to negative adaptation measures, including sending their children to work in often dangerous and dangerous conditions, marrying their young daughters or selling their property, ”said Yukie Mokuo, representative. of UNICEF in Lebanon.

According to a recent evaluation conducted by UNICEF[2]:

  • Over 30 percent of children went to bed hungry and skipped meals in the past month.
  • Seventy-seven percent of households do not have enough food or enough money to buy food. In Syrian refugee households, the figure reaches 99%.
  • Sixty percent of households have to buy food on credit or borrow money.
  • Thirty percent of children do not receive the primary health care they need, while 76 percent of households said they were affected by the massive increase in drug prices.
  • One in ten children has been sent to work.
  • Forty percent of the children come from families where no one is working and 77 percent come from families that do not receive any social assistance.
  • Fifteen percent of families have dropped out of school for their children.
  • Eighty percent of caregivers said their children had difficulty concentrating on their studies at home, which could indicate hunger or mental distress.

The protracted economic depression is just one of the worsening crises in Lebanon, which is reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the massive explosions at the Port of Beirut in August 2020, as well as continued political instability . While the 1.5 million Syrian refugees are the hardest hit, the number of Lebanese in need of assistance is growing rapidly.

“The World Bank has described what is happening in Lebanon as possibly one of the three major economic collapses since the mid-19th century. What the UNICEF survey shows is that children are paying the price for this escalating disaster, ”said Yukie Mokuo.

UNICEF reiterates its call on national authorities to implement a major expansion of social protection measures, to ensure access to quality education for every child and to strengthen primary health care and childcare services. child protection.

“Determined and concerted action is essential to alleviate suffering, especially among the most vulnerable, who are trapped in a spiral of poverty,” said Yukie Mokuo. UNICEF is expanding its program and, with the support of the donor community, the agency will be ready to help more children and families. “The well-being and protection of children must be a top priority to ensure that their rights are respected at all times. Lebanon cannot afford children to be deprived of nutrition, out of school, in poor health and at risk of abuse, violence and exploitation. Children are an investment, the ultimate investment, in the future of a nation.


Notes to Editors:

The UNICEF child-focused rapid assessment was conducted by telephone with 1,244 households in April 2021.

Despite major challenges, UNICEF is mobilized to respond to the economic crisis, the impact of COVID-19 and the consequences of the explosions in Beirut. While working to expand its program, UNICEF:

  • Launched an integrated children’s grant to support up to 70,000 children.
  • Work with ILO and national authorities on a national social subsidy program.
  • Intensify efforts to combat malnutrition and provide mental health support to vulnerable children, especially children engaged in child labor and other negative coping mechanisms.
  • Spent $ 6.9 million in the first quarter of 2021 to secure water services for up to 4 million people.
  • supports the deployment of Vaccine against covid19.
  • Supported isolation centers, provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control (IPC) kits since April 2020.
  • supports the rehabilitation of children’s, maternity and school services in a hospital damaged by the explosions in the port of Beirut.
  • Provided psychosocial first aid to children and caretakers affected by the blasts, distributed essential humanitarian supplies, kept vaccines from the damaged central warehouse, and engaged young people in a community response involving paid labor.

Learn more: UNICEF in action

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