A Year On From Beirut Blast, Thousands Suffer Under Economic Collapse
In the year since the Beirut blast, a worsening economic crisis has vastly increased the numbers living in poverty, creating a worsening humanitarian crisis for Lebanon’s children, warns World Vision.
In the months following the August 4 explosion, which killed 207 people and left 300,000 homeless, World Vision worked with communities to repair hundreds of homes and schools, and support to thousands of children and caregivers.
But the scale of that emergency is now being dwarfed by an economic crisis that has brought hyper-inflation, destroyed family savings, and resulted in food, fuel, medical and power shortages, leaving millions of people struggling to survive. One million children are now in need.
The economic and financial crisis has been driven by a mix of factors but was accelerated by the explosion at a warehouse in the port which destroyed large parts of the capital. Lebanon is now reeling under the weight of a political crisis, street protests and the effects of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic that has destroyed businesses and resulted in a brain drain as professionals abandon the country.
Half of Lebanon’s 6.8 million people are now thought to be living in poverty. Approximately one million of Lebanon’s 2.1m children are in need.
Lebanon also hosts the highest number of refugees per capita of residents in the world, with more than a million Syrian refugees and more than 270 000 Palestine refugees.
“The humanitarian crisis facing Lebanon is extremely worrying and it is worsening. Families are losing jobs. Savings are disappearing as hyperinflation makes them worthless and there is a real fear of the potential for sectarian conflict to grow in this tense atmosphere,” says Hans Bederski, World Vision Lebanon National Director. “I am very worried about the country’s children who are now going hungry, witnessing chaos and protests, and who have already suffered school closures in response to the pandemic.”
World Vision is responding to the crises via long-term development programmes in communities across the country, with a focus on livelihoods. The work supports more than 890,000 Lebanese, and Syrian refugees. Of these, 490,561 are children.