In Lebanon, the Covid situation now seems to be under control. The number of cases has decreased, the vaccination programme is going ahead, even amongst young people and, whilst taking the necessary precautions, everything is opening up again. However, just like the rest of the world, the Delta variant is on the increase here and could lead to further complications.
Yet it is the economic crisis that is the most frightening. The dollar exchange rate is still out of control, and this is having a major impact on a country which depends heavily on tourism and has very few raw materials at its disposal. Many of the basic necessities are imported, from food to medicine. These are now extremely scarce and prices are exorbitant. Fuel, which has more than doubled in price in recent months, is also in short supply and reducing possibilities for travelling to work or school via public transport. And for several weeks the power supply is often cut off during the day.
Young people who are able to leave the country are leaving. This general impoverishment of the population means the middle class which previously lived comfortably is disappearing and having to fight for survival every day.
Adults and elderly people who have worked their whole life are finding their savings blocked in the bank and have no means for survival.
The country seems to be gripped by ‘survival mode’ where everyone can do no more than think of themselves or their own family, gradually losing the sense of community.
The “Lebanon Emergency” intervention is important not only because it provides financial assistance but also enables people to connect with one another and build relationships, thereby supporting and accompanying people who in turn, in a gesture of reciprocity, take care of those who are in even greater need.