Beirut, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- At least 600,000 children have been directly or indirectly affected by the explosion at Beirut’s port, UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ted Chaiban, said on Monday.
“We estimate that nearly 600,000 children could be in shock, living in fear, having flashbacks,” Chaiban told media during his visit to Beirut’s Karantina Governmental Hospital, which was completely destroyed in the explosion.
The representative for the UN agency said that 100,000 children were directly affected by the explosion, “by damage or destruction in their homes.”
“What happened on the 4 August is nothing a human being should live through, let alone a child,” he said.
“It is safe to say that every child who was in the radius of 20km from the explosion suffers from shock or trauma,” he added.
Chaiban visited the facilities of the hospital, located in one of the neighborhoods worst-hit by the explosion, which was triggered by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at a port warehouse for six years without precautionary measures.
“It is devastating, we see that this tragedy that should not have happened has had a direct impact on children,” he added.
The explosion left nearly 300,000 people homeless and over 6,000 people injured, according to the authorities.
Speaking to Efe on Monday, a health ministry source raised the blast death toll to 180, adding that rescue teams continued their efforts to recover bodies from the epicenter of the explosion.
UNICEF estimates that “nearly 1,000” children were injured in the blast.