Saturday, October 02, 2021

Lebanon in Meltdown

  Lebanon’s spiralling economic meltdown continues and the UN is calling for urgent reforms as extreme poverty deepens and starvation becomes a “growing reality” for thousands of people.

“The situation remains a living nightmare for ordinary people, causing unspeakable suffering and distress for the most vulnerable,” United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon Najat Rochdi said. “Starvation has become a growing reality for thousands of people,” Rochdi said. “Today, we estimate that more than one million Lebanese need relief assistance to cover their basic needs, including food.” Rochdi said Lebanon’s fate lies in the political will to make its economy viable again, and that humanitarian interventions are not the solution.

“Humanitarian action is meant to be by nature short-term, temporary and unsustainable,” she said. “It is not meant to solve the root causes and drivers of a crisis.”

 78 percent of the Lebanese lives below the poverty line – some three million people – with 36 percent of the population living in extreme poverty. Almost a quarter of the population was not able to meet their “dietary needs” by the end of last year, the UN said.

The Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value against the dollar amid Lebanon’s economic meltdown over the past two years. Buying power has dwindled as millions are locked out of their savings in the country’s stricken banks. A fuel crisis has paralysed much of Lebanon over the past few months, causing large-scale power outages and crippling hospitals. Life-saving medicines have been missing from pharmacy shelves, including cancer treatments. Families have had to dig deeper into their pockets to buy them at inflated rates through the black market if they can afford to do so.

“We’ve never seen these growing needs among the Lebanese population before,” World Food Programme spokeswoman Rasha Abou Dargham told Al Jazeera. The organisation now provides food assistance to one in four people in the country, with demand for food assistance at an all-time high.

UN urges Lebanon to implement reforms as extreme poverty grows | United Nations News | Al Jazeera

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...


Lebanon has been left without electricity

At the country's two largest power stations, Deir Ammar and Zahrani, had shut down because of a fuel shortage.

The power grid completely stopped working and was unlikely to restart for several days.