Islamic Relief are calling for urgent humanitarian assistance to support struggling Lebanese families facing dire economic conditions.
Poverty in Lebanon is more than just a lack of income. It destroys livelihoods through hunger, limited education and societal exclusion. An astonishing 80% of the population are living below the poverty line, placing Lebanon in one of the most severe economic crises of the 21st century.
The economic crisis has led to severe inflation, and the prices of essential items have increased by 800% so even the most basic items have become out of reach, and many now do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Many people have lost their jobs and do not have any source of income. Inflation has meant that those who were previously well off are now struggling to keep up with the costs of everyday life, and the gap between the rich and poor is rapidly widening.
To make matters worse, the country is facing severe shortages, particularly when it comes to electricity, communications, fuel and medicines. These shortages and power cuts across the country have had a devastating impact to the education and healthcare sectors in particular.
People with disabilities have become particularly vulnerable, and they will need support to get through the high cost of daily living.
Mahmoud and Hwaida’s story
Mahmoud is 51-year-old father and a victim of a traffic accident in 2007 which resulted in severe damage in his leg and years of amnesia. His wife, 53-year-old Hwaida, devoted her whole life to taking care of her husband after his injury and to raise their 3 sons who are studying and working at the same time for their family to survive this hard life.
Hwaida says, “Mahmoud suffers from a disability because of the traffic accident, he is registered as disabled by the Ministry of Social Affairs but his [registration] card has expired. During the last 14 years he was being treated but his leg didn’t respond to any of the treatment. He is also suffering from diabetes and needs medicine every month.”
Their house consists of 1 bedroom, a living room, a kitchen and a toilet. The house is in a dire state as their washing machine, refrigerator, and water heater do not work. Hwaida refuses to ask her sons about these problems since they can barely afford their college fees.
When asking Hwaida about her life, she says that her only concern is to educate her sons and she is doing her best to do this.
“I don’t sleep until 3 or 4am,” Hwaida says, “every night I wait for my sons to come back from work, they walk home because they can’t afford taxis.”
With the rapid economic inflation, Hwaida struggles to provide for her family and cover her husband’s medical costs, and she worries about how they will survive.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I would do if this situation lasts but I feel desperate since I lost all my power. I tried everything. About 90% of my neighbours are like me, suffering from hunger and helplessness.
“One day, I bought one pack of bread and I shared it with 2 of my neighbours. Nothing can be done unless a decent people come and help us,” she says.
Islamic Relief has been providing food distributions throughout Lebanon to aid struggling families. With the economic situation expected to worsen, more support is urgently needed to assist people to live through these dire conditions.
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