Lebanon is at boiling point. The Lebanese Lira has hit a new record low today, with $1 US dollar costing almost LL14,000 (more than 90% of its value). Protests re-emerged the last couple of weeks with demonstrations in many places across the country, the burning of tyres and rubbish, many main roads blocked and pockets of violence. And the government remains silent and passive.
Just to put things into perspective, $1 used to be LL1,500 before the protests started back in 2019. The crash in the local currency has been throwing more people into poverty. The average minimum wage nowadays is LL675,000, or about $45 a month. Before the protests it was about $450 per month. The fall of the Lira is also destroying people’s savings; It’s been reported that more than 55% of the population are now living under the poverty line.
Basic needs can hardly be met either because of lack of products, or steep increase in prices. Even those with a bit of personal reserves or better purchasing power are struggling because prices have gone up to 5-7 times more of what they used to be.
No wonder people are fed up and can’t take it anymore. There’s a lot of anger, frustration and desperation, and you can almost “feel” the hopelessness in the air. After all that has happened in the last 18 months (crisis, corruption, Beirut blast, COVID, etc) the situation continues to worsen. Lebanon desperately needs new politicians who will put their country and its citizens above their own personal benefit, and a serious restructuring of the political, social and economic systems.
In the midst of all this, the FFRL stands with our Lebanese brothers and sisters who desire to live in dignity and try to do the right thing for Lebanon, and we will continue to seek peace and to bring people together to solve the challenges we face each and every day. But we desperately need change.
Please pray for Lebanon.
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