UK Minister Warns Of Hunger In Lebanon, Urging Officials To Act

UK Minister Warns Of Hunger In Lebanon If Officials Don't Act
Marwan Naamani/DPA

As international pressure mounts on the Lebanese political class to take reformative action and save from the worst, a British minister has warned that the country will face hunger if its officials continue stalling.

Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East James Cleverly said on Thursday that is on the verge of not being able to feed itself.

The warning comes as the Lebanese suffer from the effects of hyperinflation and increasingly high poverty rates. These are expected to soon engulf more than half of the population, amid an unprecedented exacerbated by the pandemic.

Cleverly called ’s crisis “a man-made problem which could have been prevented.”

“The most pressing danger is the risk to food security: is on the verge of not being able to feed itself,” he said in a statement after meeting Lebanese officials in .

“Four months on from the blast, is threatened by a silent tsunami. ’s leaders must act.”

Following the August 4th explosion, the Iraqi government donated thousands of tons of flour that were later found unsafely stored in a stadium in . The scandal shed further light on the mismanagement and corruption infesting the country.

To make matters worse, in the next couple of months, the central bank is expected to lift the subsidies on wheat and other basic commodities, in a move that would cause a “social explosion,” in the words of caretaker Prime Minister .

In the statement, Minister Cleverly stressed that any end to subsidies would make things worse. “I reiterate my call to the leaders of Lebanon to do what is needed and deliver reforms,” he said, adding that the alternative “will be horrible.”

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