Lebanon Facing Unprecedented Food Shortages Amid Pandemic

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On May 21, 2020, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared a nationwide announcement: the country may very well be facing a food shortage crisis. Regional experts suggest that Lebanon is currently facing its worst predicament since its 1990 Civil War; poverty, inflation, unemployment, and foreign debt payments have afflicted Lebanon in the past few months. Many Lebanese citizens are struggling to get food and medicine because of soaring prices. Protests have been ravaging the streets, causing violence, and damaging properties, such as banks. 

And so, when the coronavirus reached Lebanon, it caused added stress and trouble for the government and its people. As of  May 21, 2020,  Lebanon’s infection rate is at its highest yet, as Lebanese worries were compounded by PM Diab warning that a food crisis could make it nearly impossible for the Lebanese people to even have bread.

Many analysts explain that the only solution to this crisis is to unclose foregin aid, as well as to receive assistance from the World Bank. But this might not be the only effect of its economic crisis.  In 2020, more than half of Lebanon’s food supply came from imports, which Hassan Diab calls, “A great shame and seriously dangerous for our food sovereignty”. Along with people losing their jobs, it is expected that Lebanon will face a 12% decline in its GDP.  Hassan Diab ended his statement by saying: “It would be a tragedy upon a tragedy if our efforts to beat the COVID-19 epidemic eventually gave way to mass starvation and migration, the effects of which would be felt for generations.” As nations across the Middle East and the rest of the world face the brunt of the pandemic—along with its resulting economic and sociopolitical toil—Lebanon’s future remains uncertain.