Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, said the earthquakes that began on 6 February struck when affected Syrians’ needs were highest, when the economy was at its lowest and when infrastructure was already heavily damaged.
The Syrian opposition-run Civil Defense said on Tuesday that 22 people had died from an outbreak of cholera in the country’s northwest in the aftermath of the devastating quake that hit Turkey and Syria.
Fear and panic caused the most injuries in northwest Syria when two new earthquakes hit on Monday evening, just two weeks after the catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated large parts of the region including southern Turkey.
Lebanon has warned that a deadly cholera outbreak is “spreading rapidly”, with cases rising after the virulent disease spread from neighbouring.
BEIRUT — A recent outbreak of cholera in Syria has hit nearly all its provinces and spread to neighboring Lebanon, triggering alarms in both countries, where economic crises have exacerbated deteriorating health conditions.
Lebanon has traditionally sourced 66% of the grain it needs from Ukraine and another 12% from Russia […] Today, wheat reserves can barely cover up to a month, flour is heavily rationed, and bread prices are tenfold higher. Not only has the number of bread bundles decreased in weight, but their cost has also increased by 550%. Exorbitant prices are now beyond the means of many. Today, what was considered the food of the poor, accessible to all, has become a luxury good.
Up to 90% of Lebanon’s wheat and cooking oil imports come from Ukraine and Russia, as well as a large proportion of grain imports (…) Lebanon now has only one month’s wheat reserves left, deepening an already-existing food security crisis in the country. Additionally, due to the sharp increase in global oil prices, official prices of fuel in Lebanon have increased by a staggering 33% since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Poverty in Lebanon has drastically increased over the past year, now affecting about 74% of the total population. Taking into account dimensions other than income, such as access to health, education and public utilities, increases the rate to 82% of the population living in multidimensional poverty.
UNICEF, JULY 1, 2021
With no improvement in sight, more children than ever before are going to bed hungry in Lebanon. Children’s health, education and their very futures are affected as prices are skyrocketing and unemployment continues to increase. More and more families are being forced to resort to negative coping measures, including sending their children to work in often dangerous and hazardous conditions, marrying off their young daughters or selling their belongings.
WORLD BANK, JUNE 1, 2021
Lebanon is enduring a severe and prolonged economic depression. According to the latest World Bank Lebanon Economic Monitor (LEM) released today, the economic and financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crises episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century. In the face of colossal challenges, continuous policy inaction and the absence of a fully functioning executive authority threaten already dire socio-economic conditions and a fragile social peace with no clear turning point in the horizon.
L’ORIENT TODAY, MARCH 26, 2021
Amid the prolonged closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment rates in Lebanon have fallen and dropouts have increased, while child labor is on the rise among Syrian refugee children. Some 1.2 million children in Lebanon — Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and others — have had their education disrupted due to COVID-19-related school closures that began in March 2020, according to UNICEF.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME, FEBRUARY 17, 2021
A record 12.4 million Syrians – nearly 60 percent of the population – are now food insecure, according to alarming new national data from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). In just over one year, an additional 4.5 million Syrians have become food insecure.
BBC NEWS, JANUARY 13, 2021
With hospitals struggling to cope with a spike in new coronavirus infections, Lebanon will enforce an 11-day curfew which is likely to exacerbate the suffering of vulnerable families. Lebanon, which has a population of six million, has reported more than 222,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,629 deaths since the start of the pandemic. But in the past week alone, 30,250 people have tested positive and 117 have died.
NBC NEWS, DECEMBER 27, 2020
The country has seen a rise in tensions between refugees and residents in the last years that humanitarian workers and politicians says are fuelled by both racism and anger by Lebanese hit by a financial crisis who blame refugees for taking their jobs.
THE NEW HUMANITARIAN, DECEMBER 9, 2020
Four months after a deadly blast tore through Beirut’s port, some residents of the Lebanese capital say the help they have received has been sporadic, late, and insufficient – despite hundreds of millions of dollars of pledged international aid and the fanfare surrounding it.
UN NEWS, NOVEMBER 11, 2020
“While the immediate scars are starting to heal, thanks to extraordinary efforts on the ground, the deep wounds – both visible and invisible – of children and families in a country experiencing multiple emergencies will require sustained solidarity, commitment and support”
RESCUE.ORG, AUGUST 14, 2020
In addition to the catastrophic events of recent days, the Lebanese people have been faced with an economic collapse and increasing scarcity of food, as the country confronts a global pandemic.
THE WASHINGTON POST, JULY 20, 2020
Known as an oasis of prosperity and relative stability during the past decade of Middle East turmoil, Lebanon is descending into poverty, despair and potentially chaos. Economists are now predicting a Venezuela-style collapse, with acute shortages of essential products and services, runaway inflation and rising lawlessness — in a country at the heart of an already unstable region.
THE TELEGRAPH, JUNE 30, 2020
Could Lebanon be heading to a repeat of the 1915-18 famine in which the country lost half of the population? “Absolutely,” said Dr Keulertz. “By the end of the year, we will see 75 per cent of the population on food handouts, but the question is whether there will be food to hand out.”
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME, JUNE 26, 2020
Syrians today face an unprecedented hunger crisis as the prices of basic foods reach levels unseen even at the height of the nine-year conflict and millions of people are pushed deeper into poverty, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said, on the eve of a donors pledging conference for Syria.
REUTERS, JUNE 9, 2020
“The pound hit 3,000 against the safe-haven dollar in a rapidly accelerating free-fall. It broke an earlier psychological barrier of 2,000 pounds to the dollar last Thursday […] The collapse of the currency has driven up inflation and aggravated hardship as Syrians struggle to afford food, power and other basics.”
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP, JUNE 8, 2020
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Lebanon’s economy, which was already slowly imploding, has brought it to the brink of total collapse […] The accumulation of crises is driving ever greater numbers of Lebanese into absolute poverty.”
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, JUNE 3, 2020
“In recent weeks, dozens of Ethiopian women have gathered outside the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut. Some have been abandoned by their employers, without pay, their belongings, or passports […] These women are among the most marginalised people in society, and are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis which was exacerbated by COVID-19.”
CNN (VIDEO), MAY 27, 2020
“Thousands of migrant domestic workers are stranded in Lebanon now jobless, penniless and some homeless with no way out as coronavirus exacerbates the country’s economic crisis.”
FINANCIAL TIMES, MAY 24, 2020
“In the past six months, 1.4m more Syrians lost sure access to adequate food — bringing the total number of “food insecure” people in Syria to 9.3m, more than half the whole population of 17m […] The steep depreciation in the currency, down 60 per cent from this time last year, has meant the minimum wage is equal to about $26 a month.”
REUTERS, MAY 21, 2020
“A few weeks ago, Lebanon witnessed its first ‘hunger protests.’ Many Lebanese have already stopped buying meat, fruits and vegetables, and may soon find it difficult to afford even bread […] 80% of Lebanon’s wheat had been coming from Ukraine and Russia, but last month, Russia suspended wheat exports, while Ukraine is considering a similar move.”
THE WASHINGTON POST, MAY 17, 2020
“The value of the Lebanese pound has collapsed, dollars are nearly impossible to find, and unemployment is soaring. Protests that erupted in October, demanding an end to corruption and nepotism, quieted down for a time but have returned on a smaller scale in the past few weeks as the local currency’s value fell below 4,000 pounds to the dollar [on the black market], after being pegged for decades at 1,500 to the dollar.
THE INDEPENDANT, MAY 6, 2020
“In Lebanon, the arrival of the coronavirus only worsened the dire economic situation as businesses and borders were closed to control the spread of the pandemic […] With the currency losing more than half its value, food prices have soared. Some staples like rice have nearly tripled in price over the year. Unemployment is also on a steep rise.”
CNN, APRIL 29, 2020
“Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the World Bank projected that 45% of people in Lebanon would be below the poverty line in 2020. Now, the government believes that up to 75% of people are in need of aid”