Lebanon’s Population on the Brink of Famine as Minimum Wage Slumps Below 45$!

الجوع وحد اللبنانيين

Lebanon, it seems, is heading towards a fate much worse than what most pessimists anticipated. As it has become widely recognized, a monetary, financial, and economic solution is not likely in the foreseeable future. Zuhair Berro, President of the Consumer Protection Association, said: “The risk of famine is real. The minimum wage has reached 45 dollars a month! How can someone earning a minimum wage support a family?! That amounts to one and a half dollars per day per person!”

In an interview with “Anbaaonline” digital newspaper Berro said: “Yes, part of the Lebanese population is in danger of falling into hunger and famine because those who were already at the edge of poverty, (estimated at about 27% before October 17th) are all well under the line of poverty now. Their incomes ranged between 300,000 L.L to 600,000 L.L. and have decreased since then. In addition, on par with the fall of the Lira in value, their savings have been reduced by a factor of 10.”

He continued: “What do 30 or 60 thousand Liras buy today? They can barely sustain a person for a day or two. As a result, this will naturally lead to hunger for a portion of the Lebanese community. Especially since the percentage of those living under poverty has reached around 60%, and the situation for thousands of Lebanese people continues to deteriorate day after day. Many of them have been surviving on their savings. But with the collapse of the currency valuation, these savings will become more and more worthless.”

He pointed out that: “the FAO has confirmed that Lebanon is among the 20 countries whose food security is at risk, as a significant part of the Lebanese population has begun reaching that state.” The reasons are clear says Berro as he explains his opinion that: “Lebanon produces very little compared to what it consumes. Before October 17th 2019, Lebanon produced around 12% of its consumption. The remaining shortage is imported either from the neighboring Arab region or foreign countries. Today, with the shrinkage of the foreign currency reserves used to import products, merchants are no longer able to buy goods from abroad. This is in addition to the plundering of bank deposits by ‘haircuts’ imposed by the banks. The banks, as well as the central bank, injected about $8bn for the purchase of food supplies, but in reality, nothing short of a few million dollars made their way into imports. The rest was siphoned off by major importers and smugglers. The food security problem was hence never solved and food shortage remains a critical risk.”

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