Month: March 2020

UMR’s Comprehensive Strategy to Elevate the Economic Crisis in Lebanon

UMR’s Comprehensive Strategy to Elevate the Economic Crisis in Lebanon

Washington (March 24, 2020)- On March 9, Lebanon choose not to repay a $1.2 billion Eurobond to be able to provide the essential services to its citizens. In response to such an alarming situation, United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) calls for immediate intervention and long-term assistance.

More disturbing figures released recently by the World Bank expect the poverty level to reach 50% of the country’s population — compared to about 33% in 2018. It also predicts the unemployment rate will increase significantly in coming months. The Lebanese newspaper, Al Nahar, mentioned that the unemployment rate in Lebanon currently stands at 25% and has reached as high as 37% among youth under 25. Additionally, the Lebanese currency has seen a 30% depreciation after the eruption of the massive anti-government protests that began on October 17, 2019. As a result, the dollar rate in the unofficial market jumped from 1500 to 2000-2100 Lebanese Lira.

Monitoring the situation in Lebanon, UMR has begun responding to the current crisis in Tripoli, where the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon are residing. According to the World Bank, Tripoli is the poorest city in the Mediterranean area, with 50% of the population living under the poverty line and an increasing unemployment rate.

“Thinking strategically, UMR decided to adopt an approach that combines short-term and long-term plans and goals. Believing that short-term strategy will ease the suffering of people, while the long-term plan will empower people economically,” says Dr. Abed Ayoub, President & CEO of UMR.

UMR’s emergency intervention will include medicine, food packs, water, cash vouchers, health items such as medications, elderly medical needs, and home renovations. UMR’s long-term recovery plan will include providing businesses start-up kits, grants, and loans, technical vocational and entrepreneurial training, rebuilding schools and hospitals, and more.

UMR recognizes that it is essential to work with local organizations that have the same goals and concerns. Therefore, UMR has partnered up with organizations such as Akkarouna Foundation, Rene Moawad Foundation, and Tawasol for Relief and Development. These NGOs work with international and institutional donors and have comprehensive livelihood approaches and target all vulnerable communities residing in Lebanon, including the approximately 1.5 Syrian refugees. The ultimate goal is to provide Lebanon with a resourceful and flourishing economy while decreasing the tragedy of marginalized youth and families.

Contact:
Nagwa Abdallah
Communications Officer, UMR
nabdallah@umrelief.org
(202) 370-6963 x112

Refugees are crying alone

Around the world, refugees are crying alone – in silence. By Ahmad Ibsais

So much of the global community has turned its back on the people suffering, displaced without access to education, healthcare, or basic infrastructure. For these people, every day is blessing. There are over 70 million refugees and displaced people: from the war zones of Syria and Yemen, the Occupied Palestine, and Economic collapse of Venezuela (https://www.rescue.org/topic/refugee-crisis). Refugees come from all walks of life and displaced for reasons far and few between. The commonality, each pushed into devastating loss away from the communities they once knew.

Many refugees try and seek safety in neighboring countries. For those in the Middle East, the will often try to escape to Europe, while those in South America will escape to the United States (https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/forced-to-flee-top-countries-refugees-coming-from). In countries like the United States, this exacerbates the problem. When hoards of refugees try and seek asylum from the horrors at home, some governments turn them away due to lack of infrastructure or domestic fear of competition. But how can we allow ourselves to turn our backs on human beings. At the core, the refugee crisis is a human rights issue – not a political or economic one.

As a Palestinian American, I have seen the affects of the Refugee Crisis on my own community. For Palestinians, the Nakba symbolize their longing for the homes were forced to leave (https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/05/nakba-start-1948-170522073908625.html). This longing translates around the world. Now, with the fears of Coronavirus, we cannot forget the Refugees are most at risk as they are placed in close quarters and often do not have the resources for a stable environment.

The refugee population is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The armed conflicts they escape from fragment the public health system and infrastructure that enables them to get testing, preventative medicine, and access to healthcare. The constant geographical mobility, instability, overcrowded living conditions, and lack of sanitation facilities puts refugee communities at high risk not only for Coronavirus but other disasters.

But what is the answer to this crisis which has become accepted as part of our global backdrop? I am a firm believer that more countries need to be more accepting of refugees for permanent resettlement. Not only will allow safety, but help refugees reintegrate back into civilian life. Another way to aid in the Refugee Crisis is to fundraise vehemently. The United Nations Refugee administration estimates about 8.6 billion a year in order to address the crisis, but they only receive half of this (http://reporting.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/ga2020/pdf/Chapter_Financial.pdf).

At the forefront of solving the crisis needs to be the rapid stabilization of at-risk countries in order to prevent the growth of refugees and to keep communities safe. We need to call on our global leadership to give refugees a platform to speak their truth and bring their struggles to the immediate discussion.

We have only ourselves to blame for the worsening of the Refugee Crisis – as it grows so does mass xenophobia, damaging the human condition.

Contact:
Ahmad Ibsais
UMR Monthly Contributor
Volunteer Blogger
Instagram: @Ahmad.Ibsais
Facebook: Ahmad Ibsais

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