According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, Lebanese children are bearing the brunt of the economic collapse, political stalemate and the contagion of Covid-19 in their country.
“A series of mutually reinforcing crises, including a devastating recession, have left families and children in Lebanon in dire straits, affecting just about every aspect of their lives,” the organization said, while ‘she published a survey on the impact of Lebanon. crisis on children’s lives.
“With no improvement in sight, more children than ever are going to bed hungry in Lebanon,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF representative in Lebanon. “Children’s health, their education and their very future are affected by soaring prices and rising unemployment. “
She said more and more families were forced to resort to measures such as sending their children to work in often dangerous and dangerous conditions, marrying their young daughters or selling their property.
The Unicef survey found that 30 percent of children in Lebanon skipped meals or went to bed hungry last month, while 77 percent of households did not have enough food or drink. money to buy food. In Syrian refugee households, this figure rises to 99%.
A third of children do not receive primary health care while 15% no longer go to school.
Unicef said the protracted economic depression was just one of the aggravating crises in Lebanon, which was reeling from the pandemic and the aftermath of the massive explosions at the port of Beirut in August 2020, as well as the persistent political instability.
“While the 1.5 million Syrian refugees are the hardest hit, the number of Lebanese in need of assistance is increasing rapidly,” he said.
Although the Lebanese parliament has approved $ 556 million (€ 470 million) in monthly cash payments of $ 93 to 500,000 poor Lebanese families to offset the rising costs, the government has yet to raise funds and organized eligibility cards.
Since mid-2019, Lebanon’s import-dependent economy has collapsed and the value of its currency has fallen 90% against the dollar, depriving residents of essential food, medicine and fuel. The UN estimates that 55 percent of the Lebanese population lives in poverty.
The country’s divided politicians have failed to form an independent government capable of tackling nested crises and unlocking $ 21 billion in international aid.
The stalemate forced outsiders to come to the rescue. The World Bank has funded the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine in Lebanon, reducing infection and death rates. France has increased pressure on politicians to agree on a cabinet by imposing sanctions on anonymous individuals while working on a financial mechanism to fund projects independent of politicians.
A Turkish company has resumed supplying Lebanon with electricity from two electric barges anchored offshore, although Lebanon owes it $ 100 million. Since it supplies about a quarter of Lebanon’s electricity, this will add four to six hours a day to the supply and reduce blackouts.
The International Monetary Fund is expected to provide $ 900 million to bolster the dangerously depleted reserves of the central bank, which, under pressure, has cut fuel subsidies, raising prices by 35% and sparking street protests.