Financial and economic downturn

According to the World Bank, Lebanon’s financial and economic crisis is the result of “deliberately insufficient policy responses” by the Lebanese authorities. Inflation was 281 percent between June 2019 and June 2021. Between August 2020 and August 2021, food costs alone surged by 550 percent. Meanwhile, the national currency has lost 90% of its pre-crisis value, and banks continue to implement arbitrary cash withdrawal limitations. The government chose to subsidize critical imports like as petroleum, food, and medication in 2019. However, in 2021, the central bank ran out of funds to finance these imports, resulting in severe shortages for citizens. Fuel shortages have resulted in widespread power outages lasting up to 23 hours per day. Hospitals, schools, and bakeries have battled to stay open due to supply and electrical shortages, and citizens have had to wait in hours-long lines for basics like petrol and food. The crisis’ impact on citizens’ rights has been disastrous and unparalleled. According to the UN, 78 percent of Lebanon’s population will be poor by March 2021, more than double the predicted figure in 2020. Extreme poverty now affects 36 percent of the population, up from 8 percent in 2019 and 23 percent in 2020. The Lebanese government provided almost no assistance to families coping with the economic crisis, which was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, bungling a World Bank loan intended to provide emergency relief to vulnerable Lebanese and repeatedly postponing a ration card program to help families cope with the loss of subsidies.

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