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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

ESCWA: Poverty Threatens More Than Three-Quarters of  Lebanon's Population  


Fri 03 Sep 2021 | 05:57 PM
Ahmed Moamar

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said that poverty has hit nearly 74% of the total population of Lebanon and that 82% of the population lives in multidimensional poverty.

In a study titled "Multidimensional Poverty in Lebanon: A Dire Reality and Vague Prospects", the organization pointed out that "the overlapping shocks to the exchange rate (the Lebanese pound), which has been stable since the beginning of the 21st  century, generated enormous pressures on the local economy, depreciating the value of the currency and rising inflation rates during the period.

From June 2019 to June of this year the inflation blew up by 281%, the standard of living of the Lebanese and non-Lebanese population declined, and deprivation spread.

The study conducted by the UN organization explained that "multi-dimensional extreme poverty, that is, deprivation in two or more dimensions of poverty, now affects 34% of the population, and in some Lebanese regions more than half of them.

All segments of the Lebanese society equally suffer from the unprecedented economic and social crisis.

In the country, the percentage of the poor with the highest degrees of educational attainment has become close to that of the poor with the lowest degrees.

The study also finds that the percentage of families deprived of health care has increased to 33%, and the percentage of families unable to obtain medicine has increased to more than half.

On August 21, the United Nations for Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warns that more than four million people face the risks of a severe shortage of potable water in Lebanon during the few days to come.

The UN organization has issued a statement that said unless the Lebanese take urgent measurements more than four million people, most of them are children and women, and the vulnerable families in all parts of the country, will expose to the scarcity of freshwater or even cut off supplies of the potable water over the next few days.

The statement added that the UNICEF warned last month that 71% of the Lebanese population may be deprived of potable water this summer.

It indicated that since that time the basic services in Lebanon such as water, sewage, energy network, and medical care have come under more stress.

The UNICEF revealed that vital facilities like hospitals and clinics in Lebanon were deprived of potable water due to storage in electricity which exposes the lives of patients to complicated risks.

The UNICEF's statement  continued to say that if four million people are forced to resort to unsafe and expensive sources of water, this will jeopardize health and hygiene, and Lebanon may witness an increase in waterborne diseases, in addition to an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.”

It calls for the urgent restoration of the power supply as it is the only solution to the continued operation of the water services".

The statement stressed that the  needs are enormous, and the urgent formation of a new government with clear commitments to reform is critical to addressing the current crisis through resolute and systematic measures to protect children's lives and ensure access to water and all basic services."

It  concluded that our crews in Lebanon are working tirelessly, in very difficult circumstances, to provide life-saving services and continue to support the response to the Corona pandemic, including the delivery of vaccines and the further expansion of our work programs."