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UNICEF: 90% of Lebanon families do not have enough money to buy necessities

June 21, 2023 at 8:16 am

The vast majority of Lebanese struggle to survive in dire economic conditions in Beirut, Lebanon on September 6, 2022 [Adri Salido/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement yesterday that “almost 9 in 10 households do not have enough money to buy essentials, forcing them to resort to extreme measures to cope with the crisis.”

The UN agency added in its statement, which it issued following a survey it conducted earlier this year, that families are “barely able to meet their most basic needs, despite cutting down drastically on expenses.”

“A growing number of families are having to resort to sending their children – some as young as six years old – to work in a desperate effort to survive the socio-economic crisis engulfing the country,” UNICEF noted, adding that 15 per cent of households stopped their children’s education, up from ten per cent a year ago, and 52 per cent reduced spending on education, compared to 38 per cent a year ago.”

This comes as the Lebanese economic crisis has continued to worsen for the fourth consecutive year.

The statement quoted UNICEF’s Representative in Lebanon, Edouard Beigbeder, as saying:

The compounding crises facing the children of Lebanon are creating an unbearable situation – breaking their spirit, damaging their mental health and threatening to wipe out their hope for a better future.

The crisis has also impacted Syrian refugees in Lebanon, with at least one in four Syrian families forced to send their children out to work.

UNICEF urged the Lebanese government “to swiftly implement the recently produced National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS), which includes plans to provide social grants for those who need them most, including vulnerable families raising children.”

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“UNICEF also urges the Government to invest in education through reforms and national policies to ensure that all children – but particularly the most vulnerable children – have access to inclusive and quality education.”

Since 2019, the Lebanese economy has been severely crippled with an economic crisis that has resulted in the collapse of the Lebanese currency and a devastating deterioration in the Lebanese people’s standard of living. The government is seeking to secure an IMF loan in return for implementing economic reforms.

Lebanon is one long tale of disaster and crisis - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Lebanon is one long tale of disaster and crisis – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]