By Noemi Jabois
Beirut, Aug 25 (EFE).- Lebanon is at the onset of a serious collapse, Najat Rochdi, the United Nations deputy special coordinator for Lebanon, warned in an interview with Efe.
“I am not talking about a theoretical scenario that maybe in a few months if nothing gets done the situation is going to collapse. No! We are talking about a serious beginning of a serious collapse and the people are paying a very high price today,” the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon told Efe.
The “only solution, the only way to save Lebanon, to save the Lebanese and to save the country is with reforms,” she added.
The crisis-battered country has been run by a caretaker government for more than a year due to a lack of political consensus, making it impossible to carry out necessary economic reforms the international community demands from Lebanon.
A spiraling economic crisis, which broke out late 2019, has pushed 78% of the Lebanese people into poverty, with crippling shortages of medicine, fuel and electricity.
MULTIPLE CRISES WITH MULTIPLE CAUSES
While acknowledging the crisis has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and the Beirut port explosion, Rochdi says the collapse of the banking system, the severe fuel crisis and the devaluation of the Lebanese pound, which has lost around 90% of its value in less than two years, added fuel to the fire.
“All of that has seriously impacted and dramatically impacted the purchasing power of people to be able actually to access food and to basic foods, we are not talking about sophisticated meals, we are really talking about basic foods including bread, in some cases rice, olives, olive oil,” Rochdi says.
The deputy coordinator adds that food inflation reached a staggering 400% in 2020 and that more than 4 million people are at risk of running out of water, which could lead to a catastrophe amid a Covid-19 resurgence.