BEIRUT — Long queues formed in front of bakeries on Tuesday morning in some areas of the country, including Beirut and its surrounding areas, as well as North Lebanon.
Here’s what we know:
• An employee at Wooden Bakery in Hazmieh told L’Orient Today on Monday morning that “the queues are less now after we sold all of our bread, but in the morning there was a long line of people waiting.” The employee also said that the bakery has seen extended queues forming for the past week and claimed that although the bakery has increased its production, the lines have not disappeared.
• Queues were also visible in front of bakeries in Akkar and Tripoli in North Lebanon, where people waited for hours to buy bread, L’Orient Today’s correspondent in North Lebanon reported. According to our correspondent, some people were standing in line to buy bread that they would then resell on the black market for a higher price.
• In a press conference yesterday, the head of bakery owners’ syndicate, Ali Ibrahim, issued a “last cry” about the dire situation surrounding wheat supplies in Lebanon and the difficulties faced by bakery owners, the state-run National News Agency reported.
• The mills are waiting for the Banque du Liban to pay necessary credits to cover the costs of importing wheat shipments, Ibrahim added in his statement yesterday.
• In a tweet last week, Caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam, had accused the dealers and wheat merchants of instigating wheat crises adding that “wheat has entered the country, enough for the country's needs for more than a month, and the [bank] credits are still open.” Salam also said, “stealing public money, hitting food security and stealing people's bread constitutes a destabilization of national security, especially in these delicate circumstances.”
• Bakeries say they are not receiving flour from mills in some areas, and some of them have suspended their work.
• On May 6, the World Bank’s board of directors approved an emergency loan of $150 million for Lebanon to finance wheat imports, but the newly elected Parliament has yet to ratify the agreement with the World Bank.