More than half of Lebanon’s migrant workers are in need of “urgent humanitarian assistance” to survive the country’s economic crisis, which has led most of the population into poverty, the UN warned on Tuesday.
The country of six million is in the throes of a financial slump branded by the World Bank as one of the worst since the mid-19th century, with the local currency losing more than 90 percent of its black market value.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last week that 78 percent of the country’s population now lives in poverty: a figure far higher than last year which was around 55 percent.
Extreme poverty has reached an estimated 36 percent of the Lebanese population, OCHA said.
The International Organization for Migration also said on Tuesday that migrant workers had been hit especially hard. “They have lost their jobs. They are hungry, they cannot access medical care and they feel unsafe,” Mathieu Luciano of the UN agency said.
“Many are so desperate that they want to leave the country, but they do not have the means to do so”. According to the IOM, out of the 210,000 migrant workers living in Lebanon, around 120,000 need humanitarian assistance.