Greater Middle East (bbabo.net), - Lebanon needs food aid from the UN due to the presence of over 1.5 million Syrian refugees on its territory. This, as reported by the An-Nahar newspaper, was announced by the Prime Minister of the Republic, Najib Mikati, after talks held on Monday with the Regional Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), Abdullah al-Wardat.
“At the moment, 70% of those who receive WFP assistance are Syrians, and only 30% are Lebanese. Therefore, we agreed to increase it by $500 million a year in order to strike a balance,” he said.
According to Mikati, the agreement reached is for three years.
“Thus, in 2023-2026, Lebanon will be provided with food supplies through the WFP in the amount of $5.4 billion,” he said.
Previously, Lebanon received $ 700 million in annual assistance from WFP, in 2022 its volume increased to $ 1.3 billion, now food supplies will increase by another $ 500 million.
“Food prices in Lebanon are 16 times higher than in October 2019, when a deep financial crisis erupted in the country,” Rasha Abu Dergham, WFP representative in Beirut, said in an interview with reporters.
According to her, “family incomes are lagging behind soaring prices for food and basic necessities.”
WFP is now delivering food packages to needy families and working with farmers and small businesses, Dergham said.
“We are in constant contact with the Lebanese government to implement an emergency cash assistance program for the most vulnerable families. This program is financed by a World Bank loan,” she said.
On March 10, the Lebanese government imposed an export ban on more than 20 Lebanese products due to a food shortage. This list includes meat, canned vegetables and fruits, dairy products, pasta, sugar, bread, coffee beans and tea.