Lebanon

Emergency In Lebanon 2020

As of August 04, 2020, over 4,000 were injured in the Beirut warehouse explosion.  A state of emergency has been declared in Lebanon.

Lebanon needs your help and your assistance. 

“Lebanon is at great risk for a food crisis. Both the Human Rights Watch and the World Bank are predicting that over half of Lebanese households may not be able to afford to purchase food by the end of the year. A full collapse of the Lebanese pound has left thousands of Lebanese unemployed, desperate, and hungry. More than 220,000 jobs in the private sector have been lost since mid-October, and the unrest among the people has reached its boiling point.” — Wejdan Jarrah, UMR’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Representative

As it will take time for Lebanon to fully recover from the explosion, the sharp economic collapse, and the overall political unrest throughout the country, this country needs as much extra help as possible. When you give, your donations are supplying doctors with the medical supplies they need to save lives, providing mothers with food to feed their children, and sharing with the elderly pain medication that they can no longer afford– and that’s a start.

Here’s how your contribution to UMR’s emergency campaign will support Lebanon: 

Emergency Medical Intervention:

UMR already shipped its first medical shipment by air to Lebanon. Each health kit will help 10,000 people receive medical aid for 3 months. These emergency health kits include vital items such as:

  • Gauze
  • Pain medication
  • Surgical instruments
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Sterilizers
  • Trays and more

Food Intervention:

UMR has been working in Lebanon for years, providing cash assistance, food parcels, fresh meat, and medical assistance to the poorest areas of the country. UMR is conducting food parcel distributions carrying items such as:

  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Pasta
  • Oil
  • Sugar
  • Tomato paste and more

Each package typically feeds a family of 5 for an entire month.

  • The cost of household staples have risen up to nearly 70% —  butter now sells for $8.00 USD, powdered milk costs $40.00 USD, and diapers cost up to $43.00 USD
  • Over 2.2 million people are living in poverty in Lebanon. According to The World Bank, food insecurity numbers reinstate that “poverty levels could reach as high as 50% if the economic situation worsens.”
  • More than 220,000 jobs in the private sector have been lost since mid-October, and the unrest among the people has reached its boiling point.

Beirut Cleanup:

UMR volunteers are organized on the ground in Beirut to help clean up the city and restore its peace. Cleaning up the debris from the streets is vital for the country to begin to heal.

As the country begins to rebuild after the explosion, Lebanon faces countless roadblocks.

An estimated 300,000 people are now homeless, more than half of the population is facing poverty, and hospitals are operating without electricity as doctors fight to save the thousands of people caught in the explosion. As the spread of COVID-19 overwhelms the region, unemployment rises to over 30%, and overcrowded hospitals oversee mortality rates, Lebanon now finds itself in the middle of a humanitarian disaster. 

Rebuilding Beirut:

Our dedicated team has identified and begun construction on apartmentsin Beirut. We are on track to repair 40-50 apartments per week to ensure that families can safely quarantine.

UMR is restoring homes and apartments by rebuilding windows, doors, and more that were shattered in the blast. We are doing this by employing local workers and providing opportunities and jobs to people who need it most.As COVID-19 cases continue to hit historical daily highs in Lebanon, and with winter on the horizon and cold rains threatening to make matters worse, we are ask you to consider making a donation to support our work. 

“It still feels as if it happened yesterday. The exhaustion, the fear every time we hear something loud; the frustration, the worries… it’s still all there, and it will always remain there.

Your donations will allow us to expand and intensify our life-saving efforts for as long as it takes to rebuild this country.”

Click to Read More:

[1] UNHCR – Lebanon Fact Sheet 2020

[2] WFP – Saving Lives/Global Hotspots 2020

[3] UNDP – Spotlight on Youth in Lebanon 2015

[4] The World Bank in Lebanon 

Pass the Plate

Ramadan 2020

Every year Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from sunrise to sunset. Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of families, they will not get the chance to spend this spiritual time in a warm home with nutritious food to break their fast.

The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million globally last year – the highest number in the UN refugee agency’s almost 70 years of operations. – UN

Refugees and displaced people are the most vulnerable people on the planet, suffering daily without sufficient housing, access to medicine, doctors, food, or clean water. As the crisis worsens, more and more people are depending on humanitarian agencies like UMR to fill the gaps.

Each year during Ramadan, UMR delivers food packages filled with nutritious items such as beans, rice, flour, oil, canned goods, and more to reach people that have absolutely nothing. We have spoken with families begging for help, telling our field staff that without these resources, they will die.

Me and my children are fasting. What will we eat to break our fast? My children are begging me for food and water!

This Ramadan, these families desperately need your help. Please #PassThePlate to a child in need!

Where We Are Working

Lebanon Kenya
Jordan Somalia
Yemen Sudan
Palestine Pakistan
Bangladesh USA

What We Are Providing

Food Baskets

UMR delivers food packages containing items such as rice, flour, sugar, oil, beans, lentils, tomato paste, pasta, bread, and canned goods.

Water & Sanitation

In addition, we will be building water wells in Pakistan, Somalia and Kenya to ensure that some of the poorest communities are able to find clean drinking water, and prevent the spread of diseases.

Orphan Protection

Children are some of the most vulnerable among these already struggling communities. That is why UMR prioritizes the safety and well-being of children and orphans by providing them with healthcare, education, nutrition and a chance at a future.

Iftars

Each year UMR hosts iftar dinners throughout the month of Ramadan. Last year we were able to serve thousands of people in Yemen and Gaza with warm, nutritious meals.

Click Donate Now to See the different programs you can Donate to:

Potato and Bread Campaign – Lebanon

In light of the economic meltdown with the wave of COVID-19 crisis, UMR has gathered its team to ensure food security to Lebanon’s most vulnerable communities. UMR is distributing bread and potatoes to more than 50,000 families in Tripoli and Saida areas.

The population of Lebanon is estimated at 6.83 million in 2020. Lebanon has taken in 1.5 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees since 2011. Refugees make up 30% of the country’s population, the highest concentration per capita of refugees in the world. There is an increase in the number of Lebanese and refugees living below the poverty line in Lebanon.

Countrywide anti-establishment protests in October 2019 have sent Lebanon’s economy in free fall and are hitting vulnerable Lebanese and refugees hard, with thousands railing against government corruption and economic mismanagement and deterioration, resulting in purchasing power being dropped and poverty increase. The crisis deepens into another crisis – the Coronavirus pandemic- Since Lebanon was placed on lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, cash-strapped banks have cut access to dollars for depositors already separated from much of their savings by months of tightening controls. Dollar shortages have for months drained it of critical supplies and the cases toll still increases on daily basis. Affects are on monthly payments of rent, food insecurity, health and other necessities.

Families can’t afford their acute need for healthy food, medicines, and cash assistance to get them through this month with Coronavirus spreading alongside the ignited economic downfall that re-erupted in May 2020. Prices skyrocketed from 60%- 300% in Lebanon, with the dollar value reaching 4000 LBP in the black market which resulted in hindering people’s access to food; Bread and Potatoes in particular; for both the producer and the consumer. 49% of Lebanese are worried about access to food, and about 60 % of the population relies directly or indirectly on agricultural activities. Poverty levels spiked across Lebanon. Some analysts are warning that violent demonstrations are likely to grow as living standards plummet and in an acute need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

In response to the issue of food insecurity, UMR will fund two important initiatives to ensure access to basic food and protect vulnerable communities; one is “Salt and Bread” campaign, carried out by community-based initiative, in collaboration with Akkarouna foundation and Heads of Municipalities. They have partnered together to raise fund for the idea of “Akkar Emergency Room”; which aims to produce bread in a small bakery by the community and distribute to 2000 families per day. So far, it has contributed in its first phase to distribute 74900 bread packs to 37450 families in all Tripoli and Saida areas. The second initiative is the Potato campaign; which aims to promote the production of potato farmers and distributing potato packs to families. 5 kilos per family to 35,000 families in Tripoli and Saida areas. 50% Lebanese and 50% Palestinians. These initiatives were inspired by UMR’s essence of giving to the underserved communities to elevate peoples’ spirits during these hard times, which is all about sharing our goodness with each other.

Medical Shipments

UMR boasts a strong medical gifts-in-kind supply chain. We work with private medical providers to procure medical supplies ranging from disposables such as gloves, bandages, and prescription medications to equipment critical to the success of a healthcare institution such as x-ray and ultrasound machines. This is a critical tool for capacity building of hospitals as it frees up monetary resources to hire new doctors and reduce the cost burden on patients.

UMR has provided medical shipments containing life-saving medicine and supplies to Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, and continues to send containers to countries in need.

Back to School

What Would Your Children Do IF THEY WERE NOT IN SCHOOL?

Whether it be due to poverty, war, or displacement, thousands of children in Jordan, Kenya, & Lebanon are unable to attend to school. What most people don’t realize is that when children are deprived of education, oftentimes they are forced into child labor or child marriage. The UN says 180,000 refugee children living in Lebanon are forgoing an education to work long hours for as little as $2/day.

Many children in the refugee camps lack even the most basic school supplies. Parents, having limited funds, are faced with a predicament- putting food on the table or supplying pencils to write with. Hunger, almost always, takes precedence.

UMR’s annual Back to School Campaign aims to reduce the chances that children are left out of schools.

How You Can Help

When the opportunity of education is taken away, usually the chance of a successful future disappears along with it. It is time that we start recognizing education as a right, not a privilege.

With your generous donations, UMR provides children in Jordan, Kenya, & Lebanon with a backpack filled with school supplies such as pencils, crayons, rulers, and erasers.

Give a child a chance to hope, learn, and dream. One backpack can bring a child closer to achieving their goals, regardless of where life has taken them.

Don’t let another child get left behind.

 

The Lebanese Economic Crisis

In 2019, Lebanon’s economy crashed and it has not recovered since. There is a shortage of many necessities such as food, fuel, electricity, and money. There is currently an ongoing humanitarian crisis that people are not being educated on, and most don’t know even exists. 

The Lebanese Civil War began in 1975 and lasted until 1990. When this war ended, it was decided that the country needed to change its currency and tie it to the US Dollar. “Lebanon’s central bank promised that 1,507 Lebanese lira would be worth exactly $1 and that Lebanese banks would always exchange one for the other.” However, this didn’t work as it was intended to: Lebanon’s banks ended up storing US currency which was stable for a bit, but ended up crashing in 2011. In order to keep money coming in, banks offered generous interest rates to anyone who would keep depositing money. This turned into a “Ponzi Scheme,” and people wanted to pull their money out, but were unable to. Now the value of the lira has gone down by over 90%.

This crisis, according to the World Bank, “is in the top 3 most severe crises globally since the mid-nineteenth century.” Their GDP dropped from US $55 billion in 2018 to $20.5 billion in 2021. There are multiple reasons as to why the crisis has gotten this dire, and one of them is because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Like most countries, Covid-19 hit the economy hard. Lebanon receives a lot of income from the tourist industry, being a main place to visit the Middle East. However, once the pandemic hit and travel was halted they lost this main source of income. This instability caused by the pandemic has led to unstable living conditions for millions of Lebanese people whose disparities were only more evident since the country already faced unequal wealth gaps. 1/3 of the Lebanese population live under the poverty line, while the youth unemployment rate is 37% and the overall unemployment rate is 25%.

Along with the pandemic, the Lebanese economy suffered greatly due to the Port of Beirut Explosion in 2020, which killed 200 people and also caused a great deal of property damage. It not only caused structural instability, but also dwindled the water supply, and increased the deteriorating conditions in the country. There was billions of dollars’ worth of damage from this explosion. Due to this shortage of money, people are unable to pay their importers in cash. This has led to a number of strikes specifically with food suppliers and gas stations because wheat and fuel importers cannot get their money. Also, with the influx of Syrian refugees due to the unrest in Syria, it seems as if Lebanon has reached its breaking point and was never able to build back after their Civil War because frankly the country itself has never gotten a break.

In order to attempt to help gain money back, the government imposed a tax on WhatsApp calls, an app that lets one call or text whoever one may choose in any part of the world, for no charge. This $6 monthly tax angered people and led to government protests. The government soon cancelled this tax, but this once again exposed the instability of the country.

Due to the pandemic, the Beirut explosion, and inflation, Lebanon’s economy is in deep trouble. The citizens of Lebanon are in deep trouble considering the economic position of their country. This is a humanitarian crisis that the public needs to be educated on for the sake of humankind.

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

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