The number of the poor in Lebanon during the current year crossed the fifty percent threshold due to an economic collapse exacerbated by the general closure measures and the increasing spread of the Corona virus, before the devastating explosion of Beirut.
Official estimates reported in May that the rate of the Lebanese people below the poverty line had risen to 45 percent, after months of the economic collapse that the country witnessed last summer.
In the study entitled “Poverty in Lebanon: Solidarity is an imperative to limit the effects of multiple and overlapping shocks,” the committee stated that the port explosion and the accelerating increase in the number of new infections with the Coronavirus “are paralyzing Lebanon, which is already suffering from the effects of overlapping shocks, exhausting its economy and causing an unprecedented jump in Poverty rates. “
The study indicates that the number of people living on less than $ 14 a day has now exceeded 2.7 million, which “practically means a significant erosion of the middle class, and a decrease in the proportion of middle-income people to less than forty percent of the population.”
The proportion of the wealthy has decreased to a third of its size since last year, to become five percent during the current year, while Lebanon records the highest levels of disparity in the distribution of wealth in the Arab region and the world.
ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti called for “the establishment of a national fund for community solidarity”, considering it “an urgent necessity to address the humanitarian crisis and reduce the poverty gap.”
Lebanon is witnessing the worst economic crisis in its modern history, with which tens of thousands of people lost their jobs or part of their income, and coincided with a liquidity crisis and the loss of the pound about eighty percent of its value on the black market, and banks stopped a few months ago from providing their customers with dollars even from their deposits, coinciding with Decline in the purchasing power of citizens in light of high prices, in a country that relies on importing the bulk of its needs.
The Beirut port explosion, which killed 181 people and injured more than 6,500 others, in addition to the displacement of about 300,000 others, was a devastating blow to a country suffering successive crises due to its major aftershocks on all sectors.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that more than seventy thousand people had lost their jobs due to the explosion, with direct implications for the lives of 12,000 families.