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  • Thousands of refugees in the country remain in the most vulnerable situation.

    Thousands of refugees in the country remain in the most vulnerable situation. | Photo: EFE/EPA Nabil Mounzer

Published 11 September 2020
Opinion

Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food. 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned on Thursday that food intake to Lebanon has dropped since the explosion. Hence accessing affordable food has become a significant concern in the aftermath of the blast.

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The OCHA's latest report explains that "the loss of livelihoods compounded by the current COVID-19 outbreak and economic crisis has created an urgent need for continued life-saving assistance in terms of food, nutrition, protection, and health support."

As Beirut's port is one of the country's largest, several international organizations and residents feared a food shortage that could escalate amid an increase in prices. Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food.

The blast destroyed 15,000 metric tonnes of wheat alongside Lebanon's main grain silos. The country was facing a food shortage crisis even before the explosions, and its production could barely satisfy a tiny proportion of people's demand. Authorities estimate that Local wheat production for bread only meets about 10 percent of consumer demand.

On the other hand, the World Food Programme already offloaded the shipment of 12.500 metric tons of wheat flour and delivered it to bakeries across the country.

Thousands of refugees in the country remain in the most vulnerable situation. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, before the explosion, already 90 percent of the hundreds living below the poverty line had experienced "varying degrees of food insecurity."

However, the UN still seeks S$344.5 million to be able to address the immediate needs for the next three months, including food security programs.   

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