Messages Of Hunger Echo Through Lebanon In Full Lockdown

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein | The Independent/Bel Trew

Following the decision to extend the total lockdown, messages of hunger swamp the country as people are not able to live with the lockdown’s effects in their homes without any financial assistance.

“Right now, our concern is how to secure a bundle of bread for our families and how not to die of poverty and starvation. We come first, and the helpless people come first, full stop,” Shady Al-Sayed, Head of Taxi Drivers Syndicate of the North, said in a speech during a protest in tripoli.

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The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban

Taxi drivers have been protesting in Tripoli against the decision of the Minister of Interior Affairs Mohamad Fehmi, who has decided to forbid cabs, vans, and buses to work during the complete lockdown. One of them even attempted to set himself on fire.

The Secretary-General of The Higher Defense Council declared on Wednesday that “Social aid was approved, and they must have started distributing it by now.”

However, journalist Salman Andary shared a text message on his Twitter account from a woman in Tripoli accusing authorities of never keeping their word with assisting vulnerable families financially.

“We were promised 400 LBP in financial aid, but we haven’t seen any of it. My children and I wait for one of our neighbors to send us a plate of food or a bundle of bread, and there are many others like me,” the text message said.

Fadi Hallisso, founder of the Basmeh and Zeitooneh association, a center created to establish a reference point for refugees in areas neglected by other aid organizations, shared multiple heartbreaking posts on his Facebook account detailing messages received from helpless residents.

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“Yesterday a man wrote a message saying that he can’t buy milk for his son because he hasn’t worked in two weeks and that he is giving his son tea instead of milk to stop him from crying,” one of the messages said.

He also went on to shed light on the issue of homeowners throwing tenants out during cold and stormy conditions, due to the fact they can not afford to pay their rent during an extremely difficult economic situation.

According to ReliefWeb, there are serious food shortages in Lebanon. At the same time, the price of staple foods has spiraled out of control, making it impossible for many to afford deliveries.

Many essential food items are now more than five times the price before the crisis, and unemployment has almost doubled.

Before the start of the lockdown, “Save The Children” warned that 2.2 million children in Lebanon are at risk of going hungry.

The NGO explained that poorer families are already struggling with hunger due to lower bread subsidies and rising food prices, and they cannot afford to stock up on food before supermarkets closed for the curfew.

The future in Lebanon seems incredibly bleak, its present has become unbearable to many, and its fate still hangs in a thread tied to the fingers of the ruling politicians who can’t see the urgency in forming a functional government.

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