Edited by Vincenzo Pira and Marco Pasquini
In this notebook we propose an update on the situation in Lebanon, considering the institutional, political and economic crisis that has existed for some time, aggravated by the Covid-19 emergency and the explosion of 4 August in the port of Beirut.
Lebanon is a country of 6.8 million inhabitants in an area of 10,452 km2. In recent years, it has seen a human tide of over 1.7 million refugees from Syria and other neighboring countries. A country that had already hosted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the history of the last 70 years, currently around 450,000. The number of Syrian citizens present in the country is estimated at approximately 1.5 million, of which only 892,3106 are registered by the UNHCR; to these is added a large community of Palestinian refugees increased with the arrival of 28,800 Palestinian refugees from Syria.
The humanitarian crisis is triggered by a drastic worsening of the social and economic situation of the country which in the last year recorded annual inflation of 56.5% and an increase in the food price index of 189.8%. The high inflation and the progressive loss of income resulting from the increase in unemployment and wage cuts, have caused a significant deterioration in the living conditions of Lebanese and refugees, triggering numerous protests among the population and especially among young people whose rate of unemployment exceeds 40%. The socio-economic crisis falls mainly on the most vulnerable categories of Lebanese and refugees, among whom 73% live below the poverty line, conditions that become worse in the cases of women heads of families or families in which there are people with disabilities or with chronic diseases. At the beginning of February 2020, the containment measures of COVID-19 infections have caused further economic losses and highlighted the weakness of the national social assistance system. At the end of September, the positive cases identified were over 30,000 and about 400 deaths. In addition the explosion of August 4th, there were 190 victims, plus the injured and missing people, it has generated numerous displaced people both among the Lebanese and the refugee population, triggering a logistical, food and health emergency that further weighs on the economic capacity and social stability of the country.