Statement by Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon
“UNICEF follows with concern reports confirming that three children are among those affected by the explosion of a fuel tank in the town of al-Tleil in the northern region of Akkar yesterday. Reportedly, more than 28 people were killed, including a child –whose age is not yet confirmed; while one child is missing and another is injured, out of the 79 people who sustained injuries. The tragedy also leaves many children grieving the loss of a parent or a sibling. Our thoughts and sincere condolences to all those who have lost a dear one.
The explosion occurred very early yesterday, and hospitals and healthcare centers in the area were immediately overwhelmed by those in need of treatment. Lebanon’s lack of essential medicines –due to the multiple crises triggered by the economic collapse and the deadlock in forming a government- severely aggravates the situation.
This is another preventable tragedy inflicted on the children of Lebanon. UNICEF calls for the protection of every child at all times and particularly in the context of the escalating fuel crisis, which is having a detrimental impact on children’s lives. Hazardous materials should be stored and managed in safe conditions while ensuring that people, including children, are not exposed to such threats to their lives.
UNICEF is providing emergency support to Jeitawi and Rahhal hospitals by delivering essential Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) items including surgical masks, gowns and other supplies to support with the medical response to treat the injured.
UNICEF continues to urge the caretaker government to take action to ensure that children and all people are protected at all times and that basic services are accessible to every child and their family. This is an unprecedented crisis demanding a comprehensive and immediate response. The urgent formation of a new government with clear commitments to reform is critical to tackling this situation that puts children’s lives at risk”.