Below is the text of ISPCAN's Statement of Solidarity with Lebanon.
We are all shaken by the news on August 4 of two deadly explosions in the city of Beirut. The extremely powerful second blast resulted in at least 158 deaths, with dozens of people still missing, more than 6,000 injured, $10-15 billion in property damage, and an estimated 300,000 people made homeless in an instant. Our past president and dear friend, Dr. Bernard Gerbaka had his medical clinic the Hotel Dieu, and his home badly damaged, but luckily he and his family are ok. We are sending our best wishes to him and our country partners at AFEL as they recover.
The situation in Lebanon was already critical with COVID-19 and the ongoing financial crisis, leaving many families utterly desperate for months. Now, with almost all areas of Beirut leveled - some literally inhabitable - it’s impossible to overstate the pressing needs of the families and children in particular. Hunger and communicable diseases, scarcity of medications and poor access to healthcare, were already an issue for many people; and now vital food and medical reserves have been lost. Surviving doctors and nurse, including our partners are being forced to operate and provide services and care by the light of cell phones, struggling to keep minimal services functioning. The people in Lebanon have become refugees in their own country.
ISPCAN extends our deepest condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones; among them, many children died, have been injured, and have been displaced. We stand in solidarity with all people in Lebanon and call upon governments and aid organizations around the world for a swift humanitarian response. We are grateful that the United Nations, Turkey, France, the U.S. and some other governments are starting to send aid, and we applaud their efforts to address the immediate needs for food and medicine, reconstruction and material delivery, especially sending it directly to citizens and to field operational organizations, universities and hospitals.
Now more than ever, we urge a calm global response to Covid-19, disasters like this one in Lebanon and frustrations everywhere. We must curb the violence that can further cripple communities that are already struggling in every part of the world. Peaceful solutions, looking out for children, the vulnerable and the elderly, and helping your fellow neighbors are the actions needed in crisis situations. As part of the global child protection community, we must all do our part to see our fellow men and women, regardless of nationality, race or religion, as a brother or sister.
All children are our children. ISPCAN urges everyone to act with the utmost compassion and find a way to help in your communities. Acts of kindness are needed to blanket out acts of violence and to promote child protection, in a country that is devastated and that yet looks at the international community with an infinite hope for survival. ISPCAN has and continues to support child protection worldwide, also focusing on where it is most needed and critical in moments like this.
If you can support the rebuilding of the Hotel Dieu, the Lebanese Red Cross or Caritas, these organizations will provide direct services to the injured children and families. We send our encouragement, our prayers and wish the citizens of Lebanon resilience in the coming days.
Contribute to Rebuilding the Children's Clinic