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One out of three Lebanese poverty-stricken: World Bank

One out of three Lebanese poverty-stricken: World Bank
24 May 2024 09:17

Beirut (AFP)


A third of Lebanese people are impoverished with poverty rates tripling in a decade, the World Bank said on Thursday, as the country grapples with years of economic meltdown and war in the south.


One in every three Lebanese “was poverty-stricken in 2022”, the World Bank said in a report covering about 60% of the country’s population. The institution could not access data from the eastern Hermel region or from parts of the country’s south.


“Not only has the share of poor Lebanese nationals tripled to 33% from a decade ago, but they have also fallen deeper into poverty with the poverty gap rising,” the report said.


The poverty rate reached as high as 70% in the northern region of Akkar which borders Syria.
The findings highlight “the critical need to improve targeting the poor and expand the coverage and depth of social assistance programmes”, said World Bank Middle East country director Jean-Christophe Carret.


Poverty is also rife among Lebanon’s large refugee population.


The country says it currently hosts around two million people from neighbouring Syria - the world’s highest number of refugees per capita - with almost 785,000 registered with the United Nations.
“Syrian households have been hard hit by the crisis,” the World Bank said, reporting almost nine out of every 10 Syrians were poor.


The country is also home to many Palestinian refugees.


The protracted crisis in Lebanon has forced households to cut back “on food consumption and non-food expenses, as well as reducing health expenditures, with likely severe long-term consequences,” the report said.


“Food insecurity is on the rise” in Lebanon, the body found, with poor households twice as likely to cut meal portions or the number of meals, borrow food or rely on assistance from friends and family.
The poor were also “nearly four times as likely to have an adult member restrict their food intake to feed their children,” the report said.


Lebanon’s economy collapsed in late 2019, plunging most of the population into poverty, according to the United Nations.


Lebanon has been governed by a caretaker government with limited powers and without a president for more than a year as lawmakers have repeatedly failed to elect a new leader.

Source: AFP
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