UN boosts food aid budget to feed a third of Lebanon
Three-quarters of its population has plunged into poverty since late 2019.The Lebanese pound has lost over 90 per cent of its value against the US dollar, and the country struggles with some of the worlds worst food price inflation.Lebanon has a population of roughly 6 million people, among them over 1 million Syrian refugees who fled the war-torn country over the past decade.The WFP once allocated USD 700 million in food assistance to Lebanon every year, and scaled that up to USD 1.3 billion in 2022.
Lebanon's caretaker prime minister and the United Nations World Food Programme said Tuesday that it has boosted its food assistance to the struggling nation, effectively feeding one-third of the crisis-hit population.
The tiny Mediterranean nation is in the grip of the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history. Three-quarters of its population has plunged into poverty since late 2019.
The Lebanese pound has lost over 90 percent of its value against the US dollar, and the country struggles with some of the world's worst food price inflation.
Lebanon has a population of roughly 6 million people, among them over 1 million Syrian refugees who fled the war-torn country over the past decade.
The WFP once allocated USD 700 million in food assistance to Lebanon every year and scaled that up to USD 1.3 billion in 2022. Now, it has earmarked USD 5.4 billion for the next three years, increasing its annual food assistance budget by USD 500 million.
The new budget will allow the WFP to feed about 2 million people, split evenly between Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese.
“Food prices in Lebanon are 16 times higher than they were in October 2019 before the onset of the current deep financial crisis,” WFP spokesperson Rasha Abou Dargham told The Associated Press. ''Families' incomes are not enough to keep up with skyrocketing food and other basic needs prices.'' Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, after meeting with the WFP Lebanon Country Director Abdallah Alwardat, said in a statement that he had insisted on increasing the number of Lebanese benefitting from WFP food assistance.
The WFP delivers food parcels to families and works with farmers and small businesses, but also works with the Lebanese government to execute an emergency cash-assistance programme to vulnerable Lebanese families currently funded by a World Bank loan.
Earlier this month, the United States announced it will give the crisis-battered country USD 80.5 million in aid for food assistance and solar-powered pumping stations.
The World Bank in May approved a USD 150 million loan to stabilize bread prices in Lebanon.
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