Violence Erupts as Protests Resume in Lebanon as Food Shortage Ravages Country

Demonstrators carry national flags during an anti-government protest in Tripoli, Lebanon October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

Lebanon faces not only COVID-19, but a financial crisis and a food shortage. Now, protests have started back up after the coronavirus caused a brief lull.

Violence erupted In Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli when banks were attacked and military clashed with civilians. One man was killed, and dozens were injured.

The issue of food shortage, Nuna from Triumphant Mercy Lebanon says, comes from two sources. “Lebanon is really heavily dependent on imported food. This is now in shortage. But there’s also the economic crisis because so many people have been laid off work. We already had an economic problem in Lebanon: we had recession. We have high unemployment. With this pandemic, so many people have been laid off their work because everything shut down. Factories are shutting down, malls are shutting down.”

Lebanese citizens can’t depend on the government sending stimulus checks, like people in the United States can. Nuna says, “We had the distribution of food, and people were begging us, [saying], ‘I have nothing at home, not even bread at home.’”

Triumphant Mercy does distribute food, as well as medicine and fuel. But with economic hardships and trouble with the banks, Nuna says, “This is not something that we can sustain.”  The Lebanese people grow desperate, and some have said they would rather die from COVID-19 than from hunger.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

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