In late October, tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens took to the streets for a nation-wide protest that lasted weeks. Public dissent had been lingering for some time, hitting a breaking point upon the announcement of a new tax. Months later, with a pandemic adding further pressure, the Middle Eastern nation’s situation has taken a turn for the worst.
Lebanon is currently undergoing a major financial crisis due to years of corruption at the hands of the nation’s political elite meaning that the Lebanese Lira has lost more than 80 per cent of its value in the last eight months alone.
In a nation with virtually no exports, and a local currency pegged to the U.S. dollar, the Lebanese Lira’s value is strictly dependent on foreign currency deposits by investors into the nation’s central bank— a system that fell short after investors suspected corruption, among other things. It all came to a screeching halt amid the spread of coronavirus. With a shortage of foreign currency, the Lebanese Lira’s value has now plummeted.
Such practices by the Lebanese government have made the nation the third most indebted nation in the world. And Lebanese citizens are paying the price now.
The price of food and basic goods, including bread (an imperative commodity with a price point that was maintained for over a decade) has continuously risen. Electricity cuts are now more common than ever, and even water is difficult to access by many citizens. Not to mention a troubling shortage of medical supplies.
Add to that a vulnerable refugee population that’s now in the millions, it’s safe to say that Lebanon is now a dire state. The threat of hunger has turned imminent for Lebanon’s most marginalized communities, and they need help.
View this post on Instagram
[URGENT APPEAL] After years of government corruption, Lebanon is facing a major financial crisis that has only been worsened by Coronoavirus. The popular uprising against corruption that began in October 2019 continues, while the currency has dropped more than 80% in value and electricity, water and cash are increasingly difficult to gain access to. An estimated 1 in 3 people in Lebanon are refugees, and prior to the crisis 1 in 4 were living in extreme poverty. Now that the crisis is sinking in food has doubled in cost, and with no way out of the crisis in sight there is real concern of a wide spread famine. In times of crisis it is the most vulnerable that suffer the most, and we already know that widely abused domestic workers brought in from East Africa and South East Asia are being thrown out onto the street, loosing their homes, incomes and visa sponsorship (through the kafala system). Dr Martin Keulertz, Assistant Professor in the Food Security Program at the American University of Beirut, has predicted that by the end of the year 75% of the population will be living off food handouts. With Coronavirus still very much out of control this compounds the situation and will lead to untold deaths. We have compiled a list of trusted organisations that are feeding those who can no longer feed themselves. Please help support in any way you can.
Beit el Baraka
A Lebanese NGO that provides marginalized families with basic products, food and medication.
An NGO fighting against the kafala system, providing support to migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.
Matbakh el Balad
Launched during the October protests to feed over 1000 protestors per day, Matbakh el Balad is a volunteer-run food kitchen serving up meals to those who need it.
Lebanese Food Bank
The Lebanese food bank provides food for the elderly, disabled, single mothers, orphans, and those who are unable to work.