The Lebanese more than ever dependent on international aid

Lebanon is going through one of the worst economic crises in the world, and more than half of the Lebanese population now depends on aid to feed themselves and meet their basic needs. The World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations has in this sense announced a new reinforcement of its aid to this country.

The fall of the local currency, the Lebanese pound, which is breaking daily record lows, is ravaging the purchasing power of the population and causing the unsustainable rise in food prices.

1700% increase food prices since 2019

The price of a minimum food basket – an assortment of staple foods per family per month – has increased by more than 1,700% since October 2019. Sign of the deterioration of household incomes, the average salary in Lebanon no longer allows now only cover 24% of basic food needs, compared to 93% last year.

According to Abdallah Alwardat, WFP Representative in Lebanon, “for many in the country today, food has become a cause of concern”.

“At one of our larger distribution points, a mother told me that for the first time ever, she had not been able to enroll her three children in school this year. It’s devastating,” he said.

WFP report on food security and vulnerability of Lebanese residents finds families are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain nutritious food and are being forced to resort to harmful strategies, such as spending less on health care and education or pull children out of school altogether.

Diets have also changed radically: We consume less and less dairy products, animal proteins, fruits and vegetables. And the approach of winter will also add to the difficulties due to the increase in fuel and electricity costs, it is pointed out.

Similarly, households headed by women, large families or whose members suffer from a chronic illness or disability are more likely to be food insecure.

“At an age when you can’t wait to retire after a lifetime of work, I always try to find a source of income to feed my family,” says a 74-year-old father who receives aid cash from WFP.

Syrian refugees hit hard

The economic crisis in Lebanon is hitting Syrian refugees hard. Most now live in extreme poverty, forced to send their children to work, and to sell basic necessities to survive.

Since the onset of the economic crisis in Lebanon, WFP has rapidly expanded its assistance in the country. The UN agency now supports 1 in 3 people in Lebanon by providing monthly food or cash assistance to 1.7 million Lebanese and Syrian refugees.

WFP is also the backbone of Lebanon’s two social protection programs, the National Poverty Targeting Program and the Emergency Social Safety Net, which reach more than 1 million Lebanese.

Previous Post Next Post