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Sunday, March 03 2024

UN coordinator warns humanitarian crisis in Lebanon

UN coordinator warns humanitarian crisis in Lebanon
Photo Credit : IANS

Geneva: A senior UN official has provided an update on the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, saying that Lebanon’s crisis is affecting everyone, everywhere across the country.

Najat Rochdi, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, told a press briefing in Geneva on Friday that the socio-economic meltdown in Lebanon has been further exacerbated by the impact of the Ukrainian crisis, which is mainly reflected in the drastic increase in bread prices and threatening food security.

“Our recent assessment shows that 2.2 million people require urgent support to secure access to food and other basic needs until the end of the year, an increase of 46 per cent compared to last year,” she said.

She added that nearly one-third of Lebanon’s labor force is unemployed, with the unemployment rate tremendously increasing from 11.4 per cent in 2018-2019 to 29.6 per cent in 2022, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN official said that the minimum monthly wage in the country has currently become less than $25, resulting in a significant decline in income and purchasing power.

She cited the latest UN figures as saying that 51 per cent of small-scale enterprises in Lebanon have temporarily stopped operations with 84 per cent of their workers being laid-off and 94 per cent of those retained seeing their wages largely reduced.

As for the health sector, Rochdi told reports that in Lebanon, 1.95 million people are requesting humanitarian health services, an increase of 43 per cent from August 2021.

“All the more, hospitals suffer from an acute shortage in medical supplies and power shortages, at a time when over 40 per cent of Lebanon’s doctors and 30 per cent of nurses have left Lebanon since the beginning of the economic meltdown, according to WHO,” she noted.

According to the UN official, another concerning crisis is people’s access to safe water. Nearly 4 million people are at immediate risk of being denied access to safe water in Lebanon, with alternative water supplies expected to be unaffordable to the most vulnerable households due to the soaring cost of fuel and the inefficiency of water establishments.

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