It is a question that Italian friends often ask me
Here is briefly what the situation is like.
Although I never want to lose hope, the news from Lebanon these days is not reassuring. Lebanon is in a crisis at all levels: political, economic, social ...
The news speaks of a country to the extreme. 2020 is catastrophic.
1- The economic crisis
The economic, financial and monetary crisis is the biggest, perhaps, in the history of the Lebanese republic, which should celebrate 100 years of life in the current year! The value of the lira against the dollar declined 250%. ($ 1 = 4000 L.L on the black market, and 1500 L.L. in the bank !!) what time it was.
Consumer prices have quadrupled in the face of the Lebanese pound. The monthly minimum wage dropped to less than $ 200 (it was $ 450 two months ago) due to inflation. Seeing that the prices on the market are similar to the Italian ones and that the basic necessities imported from abroad have become even more expensive is incredible.
Out of nearly six million Lebanese and refugee residents, half of these, that is, three million people live on less than $ 3 a day. Half of these three million live on less than a dollar a day.
Public debt has become one of the highest in the world. The country has over one hundred billion dollars in debt. After stealing everything, the governors say there is no more money to pay off the debt that accumulates day by day.
The political and economic sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran and Syria indirectly affect Lebanon and aggravate the economic and social situation.
To all of the above is added the health problem imposed by Coronavirus. Coronavirus becomes very dangerous in Lebanon as the public health system, like almost everything that is public (school, electricity, water, roads, ...) is malfunctioning. Private healthcare costs too much and would not have the chance to respond to the Coronavirus emergency. The majority of the population lives day by day without pensions or savings. We want to thank God anyway because the Coronavirus did not spread much. There have been nearly 1200 positive cases and around thirty victims. Hopefully the pandemic will end here. But the country is blocked, the airport is closed, unemployment is very high. Many schools and businesses are closing their businesses permanently. The bishop of Sidon said days ago that if the situation continues in this way, about thirty private schools in southern Lebanon will close their activities.
Possible (economic and health) aid from abroad seems complicated and linked to many international political conditions. The world bank, however, announces an increase in the poverty rate.
Days ago the prime minister said that the Lebanese population could face a serious food crisis, due to the economic problems experienced by the country and because of the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The danger of a new wave of migration to Europe and a greater destabilization of the Middle East seem to be upon us.
3- The political crisis
The political crisis is added to the economic crisis.
The majority of public officials and rulers, who are the most corrupt in the world, protected by their armed and tax-enriched militias, live in buildings and continue to steal bread from the poor.
Banks no longer supply people with dollars and block their current accounts, imposing a minimum bank withdrawal ($ 100 per week).
Popular demonstrations against sectarianism and corruption have not yet managed to change anything due to fear and confessional and political conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, a unified and unifying vision of the country has not been created due to the influence of external policies starting from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and ending up in Russia and the United States.
The whole political and social system that has been reproduced in Taiif in Saudi Arabia for 30 years after the civil war, unfortunately delivering the regime to those who made the war, is in question.
Corrupt and evil rulers declare that all of this is because of decades of corruption and mismanagement, as if they had not been the ones ruling in these past years!
International and national organizations and NGOs operating in Lebanon do not seem to have the opportunity to improve things in practice. Initially they were meant to help refugees, but now they must also help the poor Lebanese citizen to continue accepting refugees.
Having said that, everyone must do their best. Some churches and benefactors have made their land available to people so that they could be grown by the most needy, to produce food and survive. People's way of life is changing!
Annas Linnas (our association, for each other) with her partners and benefactors is trying to be a drop in the sea of needs. I will then inform you about our activities. Thank you.
Padre Abdo Raad