In a circulating video on social media, two fathers living in Baalbek – where a high percentage of deprived Lebanese live below the extreme poverty line – are seen taking their children to school on the back of donkeys because of the high transportation costs.
The Lebanese government had raised the fuel prices by 25% on October 20th.
Currently, the price of 5 gallons (20 liters) of 95-octane gasoline is at 302,700 Lebanese pounds, and that of 98-octane is at 312,700 Lebanese pounds, which is almost half the national minimum wage of 675,000 Lebanese pounds.
“The van wants one million Lebanese pounds per child,” one of the fathers says, talking about the usual mode of his kids’ transportation to school.
He asserts that the dire situation took them back 100 years because of the corrupt ruling elite.
In addition, the road leading to his house was supposed to get fixed but “it’s still dirt.”
“We are back to using donkeys,” he says.
With winter months ahead, the other father asks, “What are we supposed to do?”
“Look at our situation and help us,” he says, addressing the world countries in despair, a sentiment shared by many in the country enduring the consequences of the long-lasting negligence of those in charge.
People in Lebanon have been suffering from the world’s worst economic meltdown in 150 years, as described by the World Bank. The Lebanese currency lost around 90% of its value, and more than half the population lives in poverty.
Along with five children in school uniforms, the fathers are seen carrying on, wondering if they will survive what the future crises hold.