Displaced children given the opportunity to play

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Lebanese children forced to flee their homes in recent weeks are being provided with essential physical and psychological help by humanitarian groups funded by The Independent's Save the Children appeal.

Thousands of household kits including basic food, toys and games are being distributed by aid workers on the ground throughout the country, while hundreds of infant feeding centres and safe play areas are being set up in the most crowded refugee centres.

The Independent's appeal, launched last week, has so far raised £70,000 and donations are still pouring in. Rosie Jordan, of Save the Children, said the campaign had more than doubled the amount of money given by the rest of the public. "Until the appeal we were struggling to make people aware of how much children in the Middle East need help," she said. "Now the issue has a very high profile."

The help being given to children in Lebanon cannot be underestimated. The money that readers have given is not only providing families in refugee centres with the bare necessities for survival, such as tins of tuna, meat and beans. It is also, in the form of toys, games and sporting equipment, giving thousands of children the chance to take their minds off the conflict.

"Play therapy" is designed to bring the children out of themselves, as well as helping adult workers work out which of the infants is most in need of care, said Marie Mörth, a child protection adviser working for Save the Children in Lebanon. "The idea of organised play is that you can help identify those children who are most traumatised by what's happened," she said. "If you let them express themselves you get a better idea of what is wrong."

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