Back in June, as the economic crisis started to hit hard the citizens in Lebanon, Agence France Press photographers visited several homes across the country, namely, in the main cities of Beirut, Tripoli, Byblos, Jounieh, and Saida, seeking to know how people are managing to ensure the very basic: food.
They took photos of people who were willing to stand by their open fridges, most showing scarcity to barely any food.
One particular picture went viral for being heartbreaking. It showed a Lebanese elderly woman standing next to her empty fridge.
That photo, which was shot by Dr. Ibrahim Chalhoub, has been selected among “AFP pictures of the year 2020”.
AFP released the picture back in June with several other pictures of Lebanese citizens standing next to their open fridges, showcasing not only the emptiness of their fridges but also the harshening life of the citizens caused by the irresponsibility of the Lebanese officials.
Sadly, the situation hasn’t improved since these photos were taken in June. On the contrary, things have worsened since then as the economy has been in free fall, same as the local currency.
The disaster left behind by the explosion of Beirut port came to further hit harder the citizens of Beirut as well as the population with the port crippled, the silos destroyed, and so many people unable to even fix their broken houses.
The further collapse of the Lebanese pound has forced local markets to intensely increase their prices in a country where the unemployment rate was escalating and also poverty.
“Lebanon’s economic crisis has led to a collapse of the local currency and purchasing power, plunging whole segments of society into poverty as exemplified by near-empty fridges in many households.” AFP reported.
In fact, Lebanon is now dealing with an unseen before hyperinflation, surpassing Zimbabwe for the 2nd most hyperinflated country after Venezuela.
Intriguingly enough, that gloomy situation has been developing for months to the worst, with no rescue action from the ruling class. The leaders seem to exist in a world apart, unable to reach a consensus to even form a small rescue government, nor the central bank proved willing to cooperate as requested with the forensic auditors for the IMF to help Lebanon.