The Lebanese government will invest 75 billion Lebanese pounds, or around $5 million, in aid for Lebanese families in need of it. The cabinet held a meeting on Thursday, March 26th, after which the decision was made public.
“New sectors of the Lebanese need help, the state will carry out its duties towards its citizens and give priority to helping people,” said Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad on behalf of the government.
She explained that the funds will be supplied to Lebanon’s High Relief Commission to be distributed by the latter among the people who have been affected by the government’s general mobilization restrictions.
The High Relief Commission will be using the money in accordance with the aid plan being prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs to combat the coronavirus crisis.
The LBP 75 billion should roughly cover 300,000 rations per month, for 2 months, according to sources of Al-Joumhouria. However, as Al-Akhbar pointed out, these rations will take at least until mid-April to be distributed.
This is because the preparations necessary to begin implementing the plan are taking more time than they should.
For example, the process of identifying needy families across the country had not started when the plan was announced on Thursday.
The ministerial committee tasked with combating the spread of the coronavirus is supposed to work with the municipalities to collect the data about the said families in their localities.
And, as of March 26th, no municipality has reported receiving the forms that were prepared for this purpose.
Besides, the process of filling these forms will take time before sending them to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to be verified, and finally back to the Social Affairs Ministry.
Only then can the ministry provide the Lebanese Army with the rations to distribute to the identified families across Lebanon… As it seems, mid-April is a very optimistic deadline for the aid plan.
Since the lockdown began in Lebanon, countless people have been forced to halt their businesses and forfeit their only source of income, if temporarily, for an indefinite period.
Of course, this was and is a necessary and effective step to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, these people, especially those who rely on their low day-to-day income to feed their families, need a quick alternative to keep up with the costs of simply staying at home.
Get the latest news and updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Lebanon along with a live monitor of cases in Lebanon as well as resources and information to help you guide the outbreak on our dedicated coronavirus page.