BEIRUT — The United Nations and partner NGOs have launched a campaign to raise $378.5 million in international funding for an emergency response plan to address the most dire effects of Lebanon’s economic crisis.
Here’s what we know:
• According to the report released Thursday, some 78 percent of Lebanese were estimated to be in poverty as of March 2021, a dramatic increase from an estimated 55 percent last year, and 36 percent are estimated to be below the extreme poverty line. Meanwhile, an estimated 89 percent of Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty.
• The report noted that the economic crisis has threatened healthcare systems and access to water as well as food security, and that intercommunal tensions and “irregular migration” attempts, mostly via smuggler boats headed to Cyprus, have increased in 2020 and 2021.
• The plan aims to raise about $140 million for cash assistance to needy families, with the aim of reaching 400,000 extremely poor Lebanese and 90,300 non-Lebanese residents, with an estimated budget of LL300,000 per person per month for food and at LL400,000 for other needs.
• The new UN plan, even if fully funded, “does not represent a long-term solution to the on-going crisis. Such a solution will only come from structural reforms and Government-led development interventions, including the implementation of a full-fledged comprehensive and inclusive Government-led social protection strategy,” the report noted.