- Title: Lebanon's poor struggling to cope in 'humanitarian crisis'
- Date: 3rd July 2020
- Summary: TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) LEBANESE CITIZEN AMER AL-DAHN WALKING WITH HIS SON DOWN STEPS IN POOR NEIGHBOURHOOD TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) CHILDREN PLAYING IN ALLEY TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) DAHN WALKING UP STEPS TO HIS HOME DAHN'S WIFE, SULTANA, WORKING IN THE KITCHEN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TRIPOLI RESIDENT AMER AL-DAHN SAYING: "There's nothing. We can't buy anything anymore, nor meat nor chicken nor anything... I just see them in magazines and newspapers and wish for them: meat, chicken, etc." DAHN'S MEDICINES STACKED ON SHELF (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TRIPOLI RESIDENT AMER AL-DAHN, SAYING: "Life now has become very difficult, it's expensive, there's despair and the state can't find any solutions... It can't lower any prices or do anything, it is just watching people suffering. People are really suffering." SULTANA WASHING DISHES KITCHEN UTENSILS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WIFE OF AMER AL-DAHN, SULTANA, SAYING: "My husband loves meat a lot... we used to get some meat for 15,000 (Lebanese pound) LBP, 10,000 LBP or 25,000 LBP. It is now at 50,000 LBP. I used to cook meat with Bulgur for him, he loves it a lot, now I can't. Now I cook potatoes with tomatoes and such." VARIOUS OF SULTANA COOKING A MEAL OF POTATOES AND TOMATOES DAHN AND SULTANA IN THEIR HOUSE STEPS IN ONE OF TRIPOLI'S POOR NEIGHBOURHOODS RUBBISH BY STEPS HOUSE OF OMAR AL-HAKIM HAKIM SMOKING A CIGARETTE OUTSIDE HIS HOUSE KITCHEN DOOR HAKIM'S WIFE SEEN THROUGH KITCHEN WINDOW VARIOUS OF FOOD REMAINS ON KITCHEN TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SECURITY GUARD OMAR AL-HAKIM SAYING: "Anything you buy, from the most simple things: sugar, rice, lentil or bulgur, anything it is... 100,000 LBP wouldn't be enough today. Even if you wanted to live a middle (class) life, you will have to pay 100,000 LBP daily. I even have to sleep outside my home because our house wouldn't fit me sleeping with them." VARIOUS OF THE BEDROOM IN HAKIM'S HOUSE / HAKIM'S SON SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR MATTRESSES ON THE FLOOR WHERE HAKIM'S FAMILY SLEEPS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SECURITY GUARD OMAR AL-HAKIM SAYING: "If it wasn't for neighbours helping each other, they would have died from hunger. But here, whenever our neighbour for example cooks a meal, she sends some. Everyone needs help from other people." BUILDINGS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CARRYING MAN ON WHEELCHAIR UP STEPS SHOP OWNER KAWKAB ABDELRAHIM WALKING TOWARDS HER STORE PEOPLE INSIDE STORE TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) ABDELRAHIM PLACING ITEMS ON SHELVES SIGN IN FRONT OF CHIPS BAGS IN THE MARKET READING (Arabic): 'EVERYTHING AT 500 LBP' TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE SHOP OWNER, KAWKAB ABDELRAHIM, SAYING: "Do you have the heart to turn them away, when they come asking for bread, when they don't have any bread to eat at home, if someone came to you asking for bread to feed their children because they don't have anything to feed them, do you keep that from them? You can't, it's pitiful, we are still good, we can still eat and drink and stand on our feet. They come asking for a kilogram of rice, a box of yoghurt to feed their children, asking to get 1,000 LBP worth of strained yoghurt, imagine in these times and in these high prices we are selling strained yoghurt for 1,000LBP, which makes about a spoon of yoghurt, the mother then spreads it (on bread) for three or four children." MARIAM KHALED MAKSOUD'S HOME MAKSOUD SITTING IN HER HOUSE, AS SEEN FROM OUTSIDE THE DOOR BROKEN CEILING IN MAKSOUD'S HOME (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MARIAM KHALED MAKSOUD SAYING: "We are doing without meat and chicken, what can I say, we let go everything, the situation is bad, we are all alike in the whole neighbourhood, we are in debt in order to get bread, strained yoghurt, eggs and cheese, this is what's happening." VARIOUS OF ABDELRAHIM'S KITCHEN ABDELRAHIM WASHING DISHES ABDELRAHIM'S KITCHEN ABDELRAHIM'S HANDS TEARS ON ABDELRAHIM'S FACE / ABDELRAHIM TURNING AWAY CLOTHING HANGING ON LINE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE CITIZEN, MARIAM KHALED MAKSOUD, SAYING: "I used to wash (clothes) three times per week, now I am washing once a week, and sometimes there is no detergent, taking showers as well, there is no shampoo, It has become 8,000 LBP and 10,000 LBP, it used to be 3,500 LBP and 5,000 LBP." CURTAIN ACROSS THE DOOR OF MAKSOUD'S HOUSE MAKSOUD SITTING IN HER HOUSE VARIOUS OF HOMES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD BEIRUT, LEBANON (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) COUNTRY DIRECTOR AT CARE INTERNATIONAL IN LEBANON, BUJAR HOXHA, SAYING: "I would say it's of fundamental importance to make it distinguish with what do we have at hand. People talk about socio-economic crisis, what do we have at hand in Lebanon is humanitarian crisis. The moment you have over 40-50% of people unable to access food, water, drinkable water, health and shelter facilities, that's a humanitarian crisis that requires imminent intervention." TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) TRIPOLI SKYLINE TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) BUILDINGS IN TRIPOLI TRIPOLI, LEBANON (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) MORE OF BUILDINGS
- Embargoed: 17th July 2020 16:05
- Keywords: Beirut Lebanon Tripoli economic crisis humanitarian crisis poverty
- Location: TRIPOLI AND BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: TRIPOLI AND BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Society/Social Issues,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL9ACSN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Poor people in Lebanon are struggling to buy food and other basic items as the country fails to do anything to remedy its collapsing currency and wider financial meltdown, raising big concerns for its stability.
For Tripoli resident, Amer al Dahn, the idea of eating meat is now a dream. Today, he can't even afford bread and depends on credit from the local grocer to feed his wife and four children.
"We can't buy anything anymore, nor meat nor chicken nor anything... I just see them in magazines and newspapers ," said Dahn, 55, leafing through a supermarket brochure in his cramped apartment on Wednesday (July 1).
Living in one of the poorest streets of Lebanon's poorest city, Dahn and his family have been feeling the full force of a financial meltdown that has been fuelling extreme poverty and shattering lives across the country.
Struggling to walk because of diabetes, Dahn already faced a difficult life before the crisis which has sunk the Lebanese pound by 80% since October, driving up prices in the import-dependent economy.
Even chickpeas, beans and lentils - a traditional part of the Lebanese diet - have been out of reach for some.
Some, such as Tripoli resident Mariam Khaled Maksoud, have been struggling to buy shampoo.
The crisis is seen as the biggest threat to stability since the 1975-90 civil war.
On Thursday (July 2), country director at CARE International, an aid agency, Bojar Hoxja said between 40 and 50 percent of people have been unable to access food, health and water.
"People talk about socio-economic crisis, what do we have at hand in Lebanon is humanitarian crisis," he said.
Lebanon is already a big recipient of international aid, the bulk of it directed at the 1 million Syrians who fled from the war next door.
Tripoli, a predominantly Sunni Muslim city on the Mediterranean, is home to some of Lebanon's wealthiest politicians, who critics say only remember their constituents at election time.
Omar al-Hakim, who lives with his six children and wife in a one-room apartment is on a salary of 600,000 pounds a month he makes as a security guard now lasts just six days. Before the pound's collapse, it was the equivalent of $400 a month. Today, it is around $60.
Basics such as sugar, rice and lentils become harder to buy, he says. This week, Hakim was hit by a one third increase in the price of state-subsidized bread.
The World Bank warned last November that the proportion of Lebanese living in poverty could rise to 50% if conditions worsened. Since then the crisis has only deepened and the economy has been further hit by a COVID-19 lockdown.
Shopkeeper Kawkab Abdelrahim, 30, has been struggling to keep her store open as she extends more and more credit.
"They come asking for a kilogram of rice, a box of yoghurt to feed their children, asking ot get 1,000 (Lebanese pound) LBP worth of strained yoghurt," she said.
"That is one spoonful that a mother spreads on bread to feed three children."
(Production: Yara Abi Nader, Laila Bassam, Ayat Basma, Walid Saleh, Imad Creidi)
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