With the Port of Beirut near-totally destroyed by the August 4th blast, the fear of Lebanon consequently suffering an additional food crisis – especially with bread – has become a serious concern for the Lebanese public and for the world.
However, while the Port has obviously sustained significant damage, it is still operational to the extent that will allow enough goods into Lebanon to avoid such a crisis, according to caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme.
Even with Lebanon’s only wheat silo destroyed, there is “no reserve crunch and no bread crisis!” Nehme tweeted on Wednesday.
Nehme has affirmed that there is “no impediment” standing in the way of goods coming into Lebanon, adding that the Ports of Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon are all operational, with Tripoli’s port operating at 30 percent capacity.
As such, importers will be able to receive their imported goods without trouble. Furthermore, according to the caretaker Minister, there is work to be done to maximize the capacity of the Port of Tripoli.
Official statistics indicate that Lebanon’s monthly flour consumption is estimated to be 35,000 tons. Currently, the country’s reserves are 32,000 tons; an additional 110,000 tons will have arrived within two weeks, Nehme said.
Thus, these amounts will suffice Lebanon for around 4 months. Notably, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is donating 17,000 tons of flour, to be distributed to the areas affected by last week’s explosion.
It’s also worth noting that prior to the caretaker Economy Minister’s remarks, a UN official warned that Lebanon could run out of bread in two and a half weeks.