Faced with the covid-19 pandemic, debilitating lockdowns amid a collapsing economy, and the horrific August Beirut Port explosion that devastated the city killing at least 200 people and injuring thousands, the country is now in free fall.
In 2020, Lebanon endured multiple crises, including a massive explosion in Beirut’s port, an economic collapse, rising political instability, and the Covid-19 global pandemic, all of which endangered the lives and well-being of especially the vulnerable Lebanese people, as well as Palestinian and Syrian refugees who have called Lebanon home for many years.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to compound poverty and economic hardship. The Lebanese pound lost 90 percent of its value, eroding people’s ability to access quality healthcare and basic life-saving supplies like food, water and milk for children. Inflation and food prices continue to be at a dramatic increase, yet store shelves are being wiped out causing food and hygiene items shortages.
The economic crisis and the spread of coronavirus have severely affected the healthcare sector, endangering the ability of hospitals to provide life-saving care for patients. And to add up to the already wretched situation, electricity blackouts are becoming widespread, lasting up to 22 hours a day. As 300,000 became displaced post the blast, it reminds us that over 1 million Syrian refugees and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who already face restrictions are now at a higher risk.