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.
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.
“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.