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03.19.2021

Rabih Torbay, Project HOPE President & CEO, On The Deteriorating Situation In Lebanon

“With half of Lebanon’s population already trapped in poverty, the other half is not far behind. As the Central Bank is running out of cash to pay for subsidies for basic goods, including food and medicines, widespread poverty is looming in Lebanon.”

Statement by Rabih Torbay, CEO and President of Project HOPE, on the deteriorating situation in Lebanon:

“With half of Lebanon’s population already trapped in poverty, the other half is not far behind. As the Central Bank is running out of cash to pay for subsidies for basic goods, including food and medicines, widespread poverty is looming in Lebanon. The Lebanese pound has sunk by 90 percent in the country’s worst crisis since the 1975-90 civil war and public anger is mounting with no political or economic solutions in sight. We are alarmed by the government’s announcement that most subsidies are likely to expire in June, setting a three-month countdown to a humanitarian catastrophe.

“Reducing, and eventually stopping, subsidies without a mitigation plan will push the country off the cliff, forcing more people to leave the country or to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive.

“Pharmacies going on strike with the possibility of some closing permanently are also of great concern. We worry if critical medicines are no longer available or affordable, more people will suffer and some could die unnecessarily. Similarly, the functioning of hospitals will be affected by power cuts and fuel scarcity, which will pose a threat to patients’ lives.

“We call on the Lebanese government to solve the political stand-off immediately and work with the international community to avert a catastrophe that will not only affect the Lebanese, but also the millions of refugees that reside in Lebanon. We also call on international donors to step up their support of the active civil society that is delivering humanitarian assistance directly to those in need. The repercussions of such an economic and societal collapse will have wide-reaching and long-term implications.”

Project HOPE in Lebanon: 
Following the Beirut port explosion, Project HOPE has partnered with the Rene Moawad Foundation (RMF) Lebanon to provide trauma care and psychosocial support. Till this day, it continues to provide immediate assistance through the procurement and distribution of medicines, medical supplies, disaster health kits and PPEs. So far, Project HOPE has supported more than 10 hospitals in Beirut, 12 Public Health Centers and several local INGOs, and has reached more than 100,000 people in need and affected by the blast, as well as health workers.

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