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Lebanon to receive $246m emergency aid from the World Bank

People wear face masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Beirut, Lebanon on 21 December 2020 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]
People wear face masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Beirut, Lebanon on 21 December 2020 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon is set to receive $246 million in emergency from the World Bank, the New Arab reported.

The aid package, set to help an estimated 786,000 vulnerable Lebanese through the country's economic crisis, was approved by the World Bank yesterday.

Lebanon is currently grappling with its worst economic and financial crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990 and struggling to cope with a surge in coronavirus cases.

"Lebanon has been facing compounded and unprecedented crises. A severe economic and financial crisis led to a projected 19.2 per cent decline in GDP in 2020, triple digit inflation and a project increase in poverty to 45 per cent and in extreme poverty to 22 per cent," a statement from the World Bank said.

The newly announced aid package "will provide 147,000 extreme poor Lebanese households with cash assistance for one year", according to the statement.

Adding: "Eligible households will receive a monthly transfer of 100,000 Lebanese pounds [approximately $65] per household member, in addition to a flat amount of 200,000 Lebanese pounds per household."

The project will also provide secondary school age children will top-up cash transfers to help cover the costs of fees, textbooks, transport and uniform expenses.

READ: Lebanese hoarding food as 11-day, 24-hour lockdown announced

Lebanon is set to enter a full lockdown, including a 24-hour curfew, for an 11-day period starting tomorrow, after coronavirus cases surged after rules were relaxed over the Christmas period.

Yesterday Lebanon saw a record-breaking number of deaths from the novel virus, raising the total toll to 1,661.

A total of 226,948 cases have been detected in Lebanon since the outbreak reached the Mediterranean state in late February.

The spike in infections has threatened to overwhelm Lebanon's frail medical system, which has been squeezed by dwindling medical supplies and rising import tariffs since early last year.

In recent days, doctors have been seen treating patients in hospital car parks across the country due to the lack of beds.

President Michel Aoun said in a statement: "We have seen dreadful scenes of citizens waiting in front of hospitals for a chair or a bed."

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of Lebanese have sought to leave the crisis-ridden state since a massive explosion razed the capital city in August.

WATCH: Lebanese are no longer begging for change. Instead, they are begging to leave.

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