Lebanon is on the verge of famine

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Since Samar wrote last week, the situation in Lebanon has continued to worsen. She has updated her text to make this urgent appeal.

A headline from the Telegraph this week says it all: “Lebanon heads for famine as pandemic accelerates hunger…there are fears the country is about to repeat the 1915-18 famine.”

The news from my country has been grim for some time now, but it gets more dire every day. We are in an unprecedented situation. The Lebanese lira has lost over 80 percent of its value. As of this writing, the inflation rate is higher than Syria’s, and the third highest in the world. There are shortages in basic necessities, like bread and medicines. Many shops are not even selling items because they don’t know what price to charge. People are rushing to stock up on whatever they can.

All of Lebanon now gets only two hours of electricity per day and it unpredictably comes on and off. That doesn’t give us time to recharge batteries or do much of anything.

Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon number around 1.7 million and, even before this crisis, most lived in terrible conditions with high unemployment rates, dilapidated shelters, and poor access to education and health care. The World Food Program estimates that 83 percent of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living in abject poverty. These vulnerable and fragile communities continue on a downward spiral.

In the meantime, we continue to live in the era of COVID-19. Lebanon has managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic so far but we’re starting to see the number of cases go up.

There is a sense of despair and hopelessness. And fear. Where is this all leading?

We have no easy solutions to the issues confronting Lebanon. This situation isn’t going to be resolved quickly. But people in this country are resilient and tough. We have been through so much!

As Anera’s country director in Lebanon, I want to appeal to our wonderful community of supporters to stand in solidarity with all people of my country: Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians. The crisis we are experiencing does not discriminate. It doesn’t ask for people’s IDs.

We, the Anera community, need to provide support to maintain people’s dignity. The poverty is crushing. It has an impact on all aspects of life — food, shelter, school, health and work. We are in emergency mode — but the good news is that our Anera team, along with our local partners, is adept and effective in responding.

What we need to deliver right now is food, hygiene products, medicines, and cash to Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese families throughout Lebanon. If you have the means to help, I am asking you to do it today.

I’m asking you to do what you can for Lebanon. Donate now and keep us in your thoughts and hearts.



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