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Lebanon urged by UN to implement reforms as severe poverty grows

The UN expressed that, amid the country's economic meltdown, starvation is a growing reality for thousands of people.

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Calling on the country’s leadership to urgently devise reforms as severe poverty grows, the United Nations had voiced its concerns on Lebanon’s ascending economic breakdown, as starvation becomes a growing reality for thousands of people.

At a news conference, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi, stated that “the situation remains a living nightmare for ordinary people, causing unspeakable suffering and distress for the most vulnerable.”

UN estimates suggest  that 78 percent of Lebanon lives below the poverty line with 36 percent of the population living in extreme poverty. Almost a quarter of the population was not able to meet their “dietary needs” by the end of last year, the UN expressed.

Rochdi said: “Starvation has become a growing reality for thousands of people… Today, we estimate that more than one million Lebanese need relief assistance to cover their basic needs, including food.”

Notably by ending wasteful spending and corruption, the international community has repeatedly urged Lebanon to reform its economy and restructuring its ineffective energy sector. They have also called for a forensic audit of the central bank, the Banque du Liban.

Speaking to an international news agency, World Food Programme Spokesperson Rasha Abou Dargham announced: “We have never seen these growing needs among the Lebanese population before.” The organization now provides food assistance to one in four people in the country, with demand for food assistance at an all-time high.

Dargham stated that, unfortunately, they are now the largest UN agency in Lebanon.

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