One of the worst financial crises in centuries, according to the World Bank, Lebanon’s economic meltdown rarely makes the headlines – even as vulnerable families are pushed to the edge of survival. Amin Kharraz, Programme Officer for Islamic Relief Lebanon, sheds light on the dire situation and the challenges facing humanitarian workers amid the crisis.  

An astonishing 80% of Lebanon’s population are now living below the poverty line. The economic crisis has led to severe inflation, and the prices of essential items have increased by over 800%. Even the most basic things have become out of reach, and many families do not know where their next meal is coming from.

Many people have lost their jobs and do not have any source of income. Inflation has meant that those who previously lived well are now struggling to keep up with the costs of everyday life, and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.

To make matters worse, the country is facing severe shortages, particularly when it comes to electricity, communications, fuel and medicines. These shortages and power cuts across the country have had a devastating impact, particularly on the education and healthcare sectors.

Life has become even harder for vulnerable families in Lebanon

Many people are in desperate need of aid, and Islamic Relief have been working hard to support them with food aid, healthcare and livelihoods support.

Winter in Lebanon can be very harsh, leaving families facing grim conditions on top of their other problems. Islamic Relief have been distributing warm clothes and blankets to families in need to help them get through this especially difficult time.

However, the recent power cuts and fuel shortages have made it much for difficult to us to carry out our work.

We’ve had to change our working hours: we now work when electricity is available. Power outages are random and have become very common, so we have to time things around when the generator is on.

Frustratingly, the fuel shortages mean we can no longer travel to help more distant communities.

It is very difficult to work under the current conditions, having to cope with the lack of basic services like electricity and fuel. The economic and broader situation has changed the lives of those living in Lebanon.

For example, we have had to suffer through long queues just to re-fuel our vehicles and tasks which should be simple are now so much more difficult.

Since the currency is always going down, prices are continuing to increase, meaning more and more items will soon be out of reach. I’m very worried about the future and about how the people of Lebanon will be able to cope if things become even worse.  I pray that Allah Almighty makes it easy for us all and helps the most vulnerable to be able to withstand this turmoil.

Qassem’s story

Islamic Relief staff are under immense pressure and feel a great responsibility towards those in need. Their needs are sadly worsening and it’s heartbreaking to hear the stories of people who are no longer able to support their families.

I recently met Qassem, who lives in Beirut with his wife and 2 daughters. The whole family has been struggling since he lost his job as a security guard, as a result of the Beirut port explosion last year.

He said he has been looking for a job every day, to no avail. He wakes up every morning and goes in search of daily wage work, but most of the time he returns home empty-handed and his family go hungry.

The family live in squalid conditions and everyday life is a challenge.

Islamic Relief repaired the family home, which has helped improve their quality of life. But Qassem has still been unable to find a job, and sadly there are many others who are in the same situation.

The people of Lebanon are suffering immensely. Many are in desperate need of food and shelter and are struggling through the harsh winter of Lebanon. Families are almost at breaking point, as their children go hungry and cold. We are doing our best to support the people of Lebanon, but we need your help to be able to reach more people in need.

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