More than half of Lebanese could face food shortages: UN | Lebanon News –

More than half of Lebanese could face food shortages: UN | Lebanon News

A UN agency has warned that more than half of Lebanon’s population is facing a food crisis following the Beirut Port explosion.

“More than half of the country’s population is at risk of failing to reach their basic food needs by the end of the year,” the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) said on Sunday.

ESWWA Executive Secretary Rolla Dashti said, “Immediate measures should be taken to curb the food crisis.”

Dashti said the Lebanese government should prioritize rebuilding silos at the country’s largest grain storage Beirut harbor.

Lebanon was fired into an economic collapse just before the August 4 explosion at the port of Beirut, killing 188 people, injuring thousands and destroying the capital’s swaths.

Providing food for Beirut blast victims

Lebanon defaulted on its debt, while the local currency black market has declined in value and poverty rates have risen, with a spike in cases of coronovirus.

“The average inflation rate in 2019 is expected to be more than 50 percent in 2020, compared to 2.9 percent in 2019,” ESCWA said in a statement.

Lebanon relies on imports for 85 per cent of its food needs and the destruction of silos at the port of Beirut may have already been a dangerous situation, aid agencies and experts said.

The ESCWA said that the increase in transaction costs of food imports could further increase prices.

To prevent a crisis, officials should set a ceiling for the prices of food and encourage direct sales from local producers to consumers, Dashti said.

It urged the international community to “expand food security programs targeting refugees and host communities” to help curb “potential social tensions”.

Earlier this month, ESCWA said that more than 55 percent of Lebanese “are stuck in poverty and struggling for bare necessities”.


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