- Title: ''What can we do?'' Lebanese wake up to new price of bread as crisis digs deep
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: SIDON, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) ROWS OF ARABIC FLAT BREAD ROLLING DOWN CONVEYOR AT BAKERY BREAD BEING STACKED BREAD ON CONVEYOR VARIOUS OF WORKERS PACKING BREAD INTO PLASTIC BAGS SHOP INTERIOR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SIDON RESIDENT, RETIRED TEACHER WHO DID NOT GIVE HIS NAME, SAYING: ''The price of the small bag (900 g) is still the same at 1,000 liras but they raised the price of the bigger one from 1,500 liras to 2,000 liras which is nothing compared to the rise in other prices. Nothing.'' VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEES STACKING BREAD ON SHELVES AND EMPLOYEES PACKING BREAD EXTERIOR OF THE BAKERY AND TRAFFIC (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SIDON RESIDENT, MOHAMED KASHMAR, SAYING: ''What can we do? This is a situation that we must endure. One day we eat, one day we don't. One day we have money and one day we don't. We have children, families, schools and university (fees). This is our life now. That is how hard it has become.'' SHELVES OF BREAD BEING MOVED (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SIDON RESIDENT, MOHAMED KASHMAR, SAYING: ''What we have to do to resolve this is rise up together all at once. Muslim, Christian, Sunni, Druze, we must all at once go to the streets and demand the politicians be thrown out because they are the ones who did this to us.'' LOAVES OF SANDWICH BREAD VARIOUS OF BAKERY AND CUSTOMERS
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 13:34
- Keywords: Black Market Bread Financial Crisis Inflation Lebanese government
- Location: SIDON, LEBANON
- City: SIDON, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Government/Politics,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CKZBZNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Lebanese government said on Tuesday (June 30) it was raising the price of a 900-gramme loaf of partially subsidised bread to 2,000 pounds from its pre-October-crisis price of 1,500 pounds in the first such price change in eight years.
On Wednesday (July 1), in Sidon where protests against the government are a daily scene, residents seemed resigned to their fate.
"One day we eat, one day we don't. One day we find money and one day we don't. We have children, families, schools and university (fees). This is our life now," 68-year-old Mohamed Kashmar, a resident of Sidon told Reuters.
The pound, which is officially pegged at 1,500 to the dollar, has lost over 80% of its value since October and is now trading at nearly 9,000 to the dollar on the black market after sharp falls in recent days.
Since October Lebanon has been in a financial crisis that has seen businesses close and prices and unemployment soar.
The crisis is seen as the worst threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.
The heavily indebted country has maintained an official dollar peg of 1,507.5, but dollars at this level have been rationed exclusively for imports of fuel, medicine, and wheat.
In recent days there have been long queues in bakeries as oven owners stopped selling their bread to shops, complaining that their production costs had spiralled due to the rapid depreciation in the value of the pound.
Bakeries also threatened to stop bread distribution, saying they were losing money.
Flat bread is a staple food for the majority of the population in the Middle East.
(Production: Hassan Hankir, Imad Creidi, Ayat Basma)
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