Update from Lebanon
When asked to give an update about Lebanon, what can I say? We have a dichotomous society. There are places where the beaches are full, restaurants are booked, and people are living seemingly normal lives. But the fact is for the majority of people in Lebanon, the situation is only getting worse.
Perhaps the worst thing of all is that we’re getting used to living in a horrible situation – and people are starting to lose hope that it will get better.
The new normal means most people here are living with terrible hardships. The government has lifted subsidies on diesel fuel and some basic food staples. And, soon, more subsidies will be lifted for medicines. This means that prices keep going up and up.
More people are falling into poverty. The middle class is the new poor — nurses, shopkeepers, public servants, and teachers. The public sector is collapsing. It’s very hard to get anything done through official, governmental channels. A million children are at risk of not going to school this year. Teachers’ salaries can’t even cover the cost of commuting to schools.
And we just got through four consecutive days of the electricity grid delivering no power across the country. So families and buildings without access to a generator not only didn’t have lights and refrigeration, they also didn’t have water. Older people who live on upper floors were prisoners in their homes.
Lately, the internet has also been down quite often. And every day there are security incidents on the roads. It can be very dangerous to venture out in some areas.
How are we coping as Anera?
My colleagues and I, like everyone else, are trying to do our best to work around the challenges. But the level of effort to get things done grows more daunting all the time.
The way Anera’s staff in Lebanon deals with a bad situation is to dive into their work with extra enthusiasm. The feeling we have is that Anera is doing a lot to push back against the challenges. Whatever lies ahead, we’ll keep at it.
We believe in this country and we believe that people deserve better access to their basic rights and to a brighter future. This is what keeps us going, always!
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