BEIRUT (Reuters/AP) – The World Food Programme has agreed to allocate $5.4 billion in aid for Lebanon over the next three years, Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said, as the country’s economic crisis keeps millions in poverty.
Mikati said half of the aid would go to Lebanese and half to Syrian refugees, more than 1 million of whom live in Lebanon according to government estimates. Previously, 70% of the aid went to Syrian refugees and 30% to Lebanese, he said.
The WFP’s Lebanon office could not immediately be reached for comment.
WFP Representative and Country Director in Lebanon Abdallah Alwardat met with Mikati on Monday and said after the meeting that the aid would include in-kind help and cash assistance, according to a statement from Mikati’s office.
The United Nations agency would provide 1 million refugees and 1 million Lebanese with cash assistance in the country of 6 million, he said.
Formerly a middle-income country, Lebanon is now gripped by a crisis that the World Bank has deemed one of the worst since 1850.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister and the United Nations World Food Program said Tuesday that it has boosted its food assistance to the struggling nation, effectively feeding one-third of the crisis-hit population.
Lebanon has a population of roughly 6 million people, among them over 1 million refugees.
The WFP once allocated $700 million in food assistance to Lebanon every year, and scaled that up to $1.3 billion in 2022. Now, it has earmarked $5.4 billion for the next three years, increasing its annual food assistance budget by $500 million.
The new budget will allow the WFP to feed about 2 million people, split evenly between refugees and vulnerable Lebanese.