Another nationwide shutdown begins tonight in Lebanon to stem a second wave of coronavirus infections. Lockdown measures will reportedly be in place from tonight to Monday morning. See our full Lebanon coverage here.
According to The National, the decision came after health officials announced 11 new cases yesterday. It represents a “sharp increase” in a country where infections have largely been contained so far. Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says Gospel opportunities arise as Lebanon’s circumstances become more difficult.
“The crisis is deep and people are questioning their faith. They demand answers, which gives us an opportunity to step in and say, ‘Let me tell you about Jesus’.”
Lebanon’s growing crisis
Lebanese officials took early action in March to avert a COVID-19 outbreak, but these preventative measures deepened pre-existing pain. The number of Lebanese living in poverty skyrocketed in April; the rate stands at 45-percent today, while unemployment is up to 35-percent.
Just over a week ago, Lebanese officials started easing restrictions to get an already-struggling economy back on its feet. “The economic consequences of containing the virus are proving more harmful than the virus itself,” Firas Abiad, director-general of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, said on Twitter.
“They defaulted on their bonds in March [and] they don’t have a backup financial system. They don’t have money in the bank,” Atema adds.
“COVID-19 has spun a country that was already broken into a huge tailspin. Most economists will tell you that 50-percent of the Lebanese population will need humanitarian aid by the end of 2020.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for Lebanese struggling to meet daily needs. Ask the Lord to have mercy and intervene on their behalf.
- Pray believers will boldly share their faith with those seeking hope and answers in this difficult time.
- Praise God for providing Gospel opportunities in Lebanon and throughout the Near East region.