Beirut tragedy as missing three-year-old girl is found dead among rubble amid fears 80,000 kids are now homeless

Beirut tragedy as missing three-year-old girl is found dead among rubble amid fears 80,000 kids are now homeless

A THREE-year-old girl has been found dead in Beirut following the catastrophic explosion that saw 80,000 children lose their homes.

Alexandra Najjar was one of the 154 people who died from the blast which tore through the port area of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday evening.

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The explosion started in a warehouse containing ammonium nitrate, has left 5,000 people injured along with 300,000 homeless.

The disaster was sparked when a welder ignited 2,700 tons of explosive chemicals in the port area, it’s reported.

UNICEF is now warning that of those 300,000 homeless, 80,000 are children.

Violet Speek-Warnery, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon, said: “Over the past 24 hours, UNICEF continued to coordinate closely with authorities and partners on the ground to respond to the urgent needs of families affected, focusing on health, water and the wellbeing of children.”

Across the city, at least 12 primary healthcare facilities, maternal, immunization and newborn centres in Beirut have been damaged, impacting services for nearly 120,000 people.

One children's hospital in the Karantina area, which had a specialised unit treating critical newborns, was destroyed.

The remaining operational hospitals are overstretched and have nearly run out of the critical medical supplies that are needed both for emergency and coronavirus response.

Ten containers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which had been stocked by the Ministry of Public Health, were also destroyed.  

UNICEF is now working on the ground in Lebanon with counterparts and partners to scale up the support that is urgently needed.

The organisation is focusing on helping the affected children and their families with their immediate needs.

“Our teams have been working around the clock to support people affected with much-needed assistance,” said Speek-Warnery.

This work includes distributing drinking water to frontline responders and those living in the directly affected location around the Beirut port.

The charity is also conducting preliminary assessments on warehouses, schools, cold rooms, water infrastructure and health facilities. 

A frantic search continues for hundreds of survivors trapped under rubble after a colossal blast ripped through Beirut.

Some 5,000 people are known to have been injured, with images showing whole city blocks flattened.

Many people are feared to still be trapped under the rubble and inside their damaged homes.

And a desperate hunt has now been launched to find survivors.

Local resident Nada Hamza told Al Jazeera: “I was a few metres away from the electricity establishment in Lebanon, which is parallel to the port.

“I went out of my car, I ran away to the entrance of one of the buildings, then I realised that the building was destroyed.

“Then, I tried to call my parents, but I couldn't reach anyone. I can't believe I'm still alive.”

Rescuers continue their search for the 5,000 people that remain missing.

Countries around the world have pledged support for the rescue effort, including the UK.

PM Boris Johnson said Britain stands ready to offer "any support we can" to Lebanon – and confirmed some caught up in the blast were Brits.

He added: "The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking.

"All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident."

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