Human Rights Watch warned of starvation threatening the population of Lebanon due to the spread of the new Corona virus and the restrictions taken to combat it in this country that is witnessing an economic collapse, calling on the government to take urgent measures to provide aid to the most affected.”Millions of Lebanese residents are at risk of hunger because of the epidemic-related closures, unless the government urgently develops a robust and coordinated plan to provide aid,” the organization said in a statement.
She added, “The Covid-19 epidemic (…) exacerbated a devastating economic crisis that had already existed, and revealed the shortcomings of the social protection system in Lebanon.”
Since mid-March, the government has taken a series of measures, starting with a total closure that excludes ovens and foodstuff stores, and requires residents to stay in their homes and close all sea, air and land ports, to a total curfew at night.
These measures have major repercussions for the daily workers and the self-employed, who are suffering mainly from the economic collapse. And 45 percent of the country’s population is now living in poverty.
“Many people lost their income, and more than half of the population may be unable to purchase their food and basic needs if the government does not intervene,” said Lina Zemet, senior researcher on poverty and inequality at Human Rights Watch.
To address the repercussions of the Covid-19 epidemic, the government formed a “Social Emergency Committee”. Today, the Ministry of Social Affairs will launch a “Social Solidarity Program” as part of this plan, and its goal is “to help the families most in need and affected by the global epidemic,” according to the Minister of Social Affairs.
However, Human Rights Watch considered that the government “did not provide sufficient details,” adding that “almost a month after the closure, the absence of any clear, timely, and coordinated response by the government to the hunger of many families and their inability to meet their basic needs “.