Crushed by soaring food and fuel prices, barely any electricity, and a currency that buys less each day, people in Lebanon now risk losing access to two more essentials - their mobile phones and the internet. When Lebanon's 140 ambulance service line - which is run by the Lebanese Red Cross and responds to 560 emergencies a day - went down last week, the charity posted alternative numbers on Twitter and Facebook.
"The problem is that not a lot of people have access to internet, and therefore it means that they will never read the post," Nabih Jabr, Under-Secretary General at the Lebanese Red Cross, explained.
Costly phone and internet services are not just hurting those who need to call an ambulance or suicide hotline. It is also making it impossible for many Lebanese to earn a living.
Telecoms minister Johnny Corm warned earlier this month that Ogero would stop providing services nationwide - leaving Lebanon with no phone or internet services - unless it received money from the government to import diesel. This would make it impossible for Lebanon's almost 7 million people to communicate, costing jobs and possibly lives
As Lebanon's bankrupt government struggles to run its power plants, homes often receive only an hour of electricity a day. Those who can afford it buy diesel to run their own generators. Since 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value, food prices have gone up more than 11-fold, and more than 80% of the population have fallen below the poverty line. Once among the best in the Middle East, Lebanon's medical system is crumbling as hospitals and surgeries struggle to cope with departing staff on top of financial troubles and shortages.
Lebanon in crisis: Emergency numbers and suicide hotlines falter (trust.org)
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