Telecom price hikes in Lebanon have lowered the number of emergency callers to aid hotlines, limiting access to relief services in the middle of the economic crisis, Mercy Corps said.
Telecom prices saw a fivefold increase in July, a move Telecommunications Minister Johnny Al-Qurm said was necessary to stem the sector’s collapse in light of Lebanon’s currency collapse.
“In July, Mercy Corps alone received more than 70% fewer calls and requests on its hotline than in previous months,” Mercy Corps said.
“This is an especially major concern for Gender-Based Violence case management, where women and girls may find it increasingly difficult to contact case managers,” the organization added.
Lebanon has been thrashed by inflation and the crash of the Lebanese Lira since 2019. More than 80% of the population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations.
Since July, the price of services provided by the country’s mobile telecommunications companies has increased by more than 500%, and the costs of landline services more than doubled, according to Mercy Corps.
Free emergency hotlines have reported difficulties operating as Lebanon’s economic collapse batters the country’s infrastructure.
The Lebanese Red Cross said that their free hotline had suffered disruptions after the state telecom company experienced technical difficulties.
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