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Lebanon vulnerable to main meals disaster, PM warns | Asia Information – NEWPAPER24

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Lebanon vulnerable to main meals disaster, PM warns | Asia Information

2020-05-31 22:05:52

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On this March 30, 2020 picture, workers, carrying private protecting gear, pack bread at a bakery within the Lebanese capital Beirut. (PATRICK BAZ / Newpaper24)

BEIRUT – Lebanon is vulnerable to a significant meals crisis and plenty of Lebanese might quickly discover it laborious to afford bread due to an acute monetary crunch and the fall-out of COVID-19, the prime minister warned.

As soon as the breadbasket of the Japanese Mediterranean, Lebanon is dealing with a dramatic problem that appeared unimaginable a decade in the past: The danger of a significant meals disaster.

Hassan Diab, prime minister of Lebanon

Writing within the Washington Put up, Hassan Diab additionally warned of a worldwide meals safety emergency triggered by the pandemic. He stated makes an attempt to limit meals exports should be resisted and referred to as on america and the European Union to arrange an emergency fund to assist the Center East keep away from a extreme disaster.

In any other case, “hunger might spark a brand new migration move to Europe and additional destabilize the area”, he wrote.

Lebanon was in deep disaster even earlier than COVID-19. The native forex has greater than halved in worth since October amid a tough forex liquidity scarcity. Inflation and unemployment are hovering. Lebanon defaulted on its sovereign debt in March.

Imported meals costs had greater than doubled for the reason that begin of 2020, Diab wrote. Greater than half of Lebanon’s meals is imported.

ASLO READ: Concerns grow in Lebanon amid coronavirus pandemic

A pair wears masks and gloves, as they store at a grocery store as folks start to fill up on provisions, in Beirut, Lebanon, Could 13, 2020. (BILAL HUSSEIN / AP)

“As soon as the breadbasket of the Japanese Mediterranean, Lebanon is dealing with a dramatic problem that appeared unimaginable a decade in the past: The danger of a significant meals disaster,” Diab wrote.

“Just a few weeks in the past, Lebanon witnessed its first ‘starvation protests.’ Many Lebanese have already stopped shopping for meat, vegatables and fruits, and will quickly discover it tough to afford even bread.”

Diab, who took workplace this 12 months with backing from the Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its allies, additionally blamed many years of political mismanagement and corruption for a scarcity of funding in agriculture.

COVID-19 and lockdowns had “dramatically worsened the financial disaster and profoundly disrupted the meals provide chain”.

Eighty % of Lebanon’s wheat had been coming from Ukraine and Russia, however final month, Russia suspended wheat exports, whereas Ukraine is contemplating the same transfer, he stated.

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