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Half of Lebanon’s population going hungry as economic crisis worsens

An economic crisis, followed by the coronavirus pandemic and the Beirut blast, has left millions in Lebanon struggling to feed their families.

Written by Agnes McGrane | 06 May 2021

Credit: Edward Woods/Tearfund

People in Lebanon are desperately in need of our prayers and support as the country has reached the brink of a major hunger crisis. Tensions are high as people are scrambling to get basic supplies; fights have erupted over groceries, and some shops have started to ration food items.

Crisis after crisis

This dire situation is a result of years of challenges that have pushed more than half of Lebanon’s population into poverty. The local currency started to dramatically lose its value in 2019 when the government was unable to pay off national debts. This resulted in the price of everyday goods skyrocketing and becoming unaffordable for the average family.

In the midst of this economic crisis, the coronavirus pandemic forced many more businesses to close, and unemployment started to rise to new highs. Then, when it was inconceivable that things could get any worse, a massive explosion at Beirut's port devastated the city in August 2020. The blast damaged and destroyed many homes and businesses, putting further strain on a city already at breaking point.

Our local partner organisations have been on the ground throughout these ongoing crises, responding as quickly as possible to help those in need – a need which is growing everyday.

Families going hungry

‘Many people are now unable to feed their families,’ says Karen Soerensen, who oversees Tearfund’s work in Lebanon. ‘People can only afford one or two meals a day.’ One of the ways our local partners have been supporting people is through cash grants, enabling them to buy food and essential items.

‘Providing cash gives people dignity and the independence to buy what they need for themselves,’ says Karen. ‘And when we take the time to meet with people and listen to their experiences, we can encourage them that they are not alone.’

‘A window of hope’

Luna* is a young single mother who was finally able to pay her medical bills and buy milk for her newborn daughter with the cash assistance she received from our local partner. ‘I am not alone, after all,’ says Luna. ‘Even though life is hard, I have great faith in God for sending people like you to take care of me and my children.’

Rana* was similarly thankful for the support that her family received. Her husband lost his job as an electrician when his company’s building was destroyed in the Beirut blast.

The couple have four children, and Rana is currently pregnant. When they received the cash assistance, Rana was able to go to the doctor for a pregnancy check-up and buy food for her children.

‘It is a window of hope,’ says Rana.

Kindness repaid

After the blast in Beirut, Sorina* generously invited friends and family members who had lost their homes to live with her. However, most of them had also lost their jobs, and Sorina struggled to provide for the large household. When she received cash support from our local partner, she was overwhelmed with gratitude.

I was able not only to cover the debts for the grocery store but to bring additional food. I finally paid the electricity bill right on time before getting cut off,’ says Sorina. ‘Thank you so much. You brought some life and joy back into this house.’

It is thanks to the prayers and generous gifts of our supporters during last year’s Beirut appeal that our local partners have been able to help people like Luna, Rana and Sorina. But the crisis is ongoing and there are many more people in urgent need. Please join us in lifting up the people of Lebanon and praying for an end to this crisis.

Pray with us

    • Lift up all those in Lebanon who are struggling to buy food. Pray that they will get the support they need during this time.
    • Pray for Lebanon’s leaders – ask that they will make wise decisions to help the country recover from this economic crisis.
    • Pray for strength for our local partners in Lebanon who have an increasing number of people to support.
*Names changed to protect identities.

Written by

Written by  Agnes McGrane

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