Beirut, the capital of Lebanon Lynn Husami, 23, was navigating a long line of cars to get gas while sitting in the sun in her Mini Cooper. She called an old friend, spoke on the phone with her thesis advisor, and used her Nintendo Switch to play video games.
As Lebanon’s Crisis Deepens, Lines for Fuel Grow, Food and Medicine Are Scarce
She was drenched in sweat and, despite her best efforts, had yet to reach the station. She didn’t want to risk losing her place in line, therefore it wasn’t an option.
“For me, there is no hope. I am furious. I am annoyed “She observed, echoing how many Lebanese feel about the financial crisis, which has made simple things like going to the grocery store agonising ordeals and emptying their wallets. To prevent things from getting worse, nothing can be done.” I have no idea how any of this works.
A financial crisis that may be among the world’s worst is having an impact on Lebanese living standards. Due to business closures, its currency has lost about 90% of its value since the fall of 2019. As a result, unemployment has increased. There are less foreign goods available now.
An already poor situation has been made even worse by the epidemic and the Beirut port explosion from more than a year ago, which killed approximately 200 people and extensively damaged the metropolis.
There is a widespread perception that the country is disintegrating as many Lebanese spend their days sweating through regular blackouts and waiting in fuel lines that wrap around city blocks to seek for medicines that have disappeared from stores.
According to the World Bank, at the end of last year, the nation’s GDP had decreased by over 40% from $55 billion in 2018, the year before the financial crisis started. More than half of the population now lives in poverty as a result of a similar decline in per capita income of almost the same percentage.
However, in Lebanon’s instance, the government’s large deficit spending and unsustainable monetary policies led to a collapse that left the banks bankrupt and the currency’s value dropping. The World Bank claims that severe economic contractions are typically “connected with hostilities or wars.”
A whack-a-mole strategy to fix the nation’s economic problems has so far been ineffective in offering a long-term fix. The country’s disjointed political structure has so far been unable to offer much more than band-aid fixes.
How the initiative will be carried out and how the state will be compensated for its $556 million investment are both unknown at this time.
The current cabinet resigned almost a year ago following the explosion in the Beirut port. The country’s political parties disagree over the make-up of a new administration, which continues to serve in a caretaker capacity and, according to its members, lacks the authority to make broad policy decisions.
Assemblage of Corruption
When announcing the resignation of his cabinet in August of last year, Hassan Diab attributed Lebanon’s numerous issues to a “system of corruption” that is not only “deeply rooted in all the functions of the state,” but is also “bigger than the state” and so potent that the state “cannot confront it or get rid of it.”
As the crisis worsened, Lebanese were forced to make difficult adjustments, such as climbing stairs instead of using elevators, eating less meat or skipping meals as a result of rising food prices, and devoting a lot of time each day to maintaining their vehicles.
Saad al-Din Dimasi, 45, was moving his car through a long line at a Beirut gas station while leaving it in neutral to save as much fuel as he could. He had left his job at a nearby shoe store to get gas, but the queue had been so lengthy that it was now too late for him to get back to work.
Only two of the five pills Elie Khoury, 48, was prescribed by his doctor to treat the nightly cluster headaches that kept him up at another pharmacy.
He had only called pharmacies within walking distance of the clothing store he worked at because his car was out of gas. He was worried that by the time he got there, the medicines will be out of stock.
I’m going to have to deal with the consequences if I don’t find them.”
By assisting with the story’s research and writing, Hwaida Saad made a contribution.