The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) warned on Wednesday that the population living under poor conditions has doubled in 2020 compared to the same period last year.
Lebanon: Beirut Blast Victims Call for International Enquiry
ESCWA's latest report indicates that the poverty rate reached 55 percent in 2020, whereas in 2019, it stood at 28 percent.
The organization explains that "massive explosion and an accelerating increase in the number of infections with the Coronavirus are paralyzing Lebanon, which is already suffering from the effects of overlapping shocks, which have exhausted its economy and caused an unprecedented jump in poverty rates."
Moreover, the number of people living in extreme poverty rose from 8 percent in 2019 to 23 percent in 2020 so far. This means that more than 2.7 million Lebanese rely on less than $14 per day.
"According to ESCWA estimates, poverty rates in Lebanon doubled from 28% in 2019 to 55% in 2020. Before the explosion of Beirut and the rapid increase in the number of cases of # Covid_19, the percentage of those suffering from # extreme poverty had increased."
"The establishment of a national fund for community solidarity is an urgent necessity to address the humanitarian crisis." the ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said.
The United Nation's agency urged international donors to support solidarity programs "as Lebanon also has the highest levels of disparity in the distribution of wealth in the Arab region and the world."
As a result of the Beirut explosion, more than 300.000 people were left homeless. Furthermore, according to the United Nations, Lebanon host the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, about 20 percent of its 6.821.223 population.
On August 10, 2020, Lebanon's Prime Minister resigned over widespread protests following the blast. As the political elite still has to appoint a new prime minister and a cabinet, many Lebanese are forced to rely on help from charities.