WFP assessing support to Lebanon after explosion

Rome – The World Food Programme (WFP) is extremely saddened by the Lebanon blasts and extends its condolences to the people of Lebanon, which has always been at the forefront of our humanitarian response in the region.

 WFP is rapidly assessing the situation on the ground to be ready to provide emergency support for thousands of people who have become homeless overnight, lost loved ones, were injured or anyone who needs assistance during these difficult times.

 The explosion and the damage to the port will exacerbate the grim economic and food security situation in Lebanon. The country – prior to yesterday’s devastating events – had already been undergoing the worst economic crisis in its history and it was being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 As Lebanon imports nearly 85 per cent of its food, the severe damage to the Port of Beirut – the largest in the country – would push food prices beyond the reach of many. The price of a monthly food basket – that is a selection of staple food items a family needs –has more than doubled over the past six months.

 These events come also at a time of soaring unemployment rates and salary cuts with many families struggling to make ends meet. Currently one million people in Lebanon are living below the poverty line.

 A recent WFP survey on the impact of the economic crisis and COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures on livelihoods and food security revealed that food has become a major source of concern with fifty percent of Lebanese saying over the past month they felt worried they would not have enough food to eat.