BEIRUT (Dispatches) – The UN’s children’s fund said in a report on Tuesday that more than half of families in Lebanon had at least one child who skipped a meal by October 2021 amid a “dramatic deterioration of living conditions.”
Children have been hit hard by the country’s deep economic crisis exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic which has left about eight in 10 people poor and threatens the education of some 700,000 children including 260,000 Lebanese, the report said.
The crisis has led to a breakdown in the provision of basic services such as electricity and water.
Nearly half of households had insufficient drinking water by October 2021, the report said, with a third of them citing cost as the main factor.
“The staggering magnitude of the crisis must be a wake-up call,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF representative in Lebanon.
A high-ranking official with Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement blasted the United States for pushing the economy of his country to the brink of collapse.
“The United States’ policies are the main cause of problems facing Lebanon; especially as Lebanese banks are under U.S. control and Lebanon’s economic system is affiliated with it. The tragedies that have plagued Lebanon over the past decades are all the result of American policies,” head of Hezbollah Executive Council, Seyed Hashem Safieddine, said during a ceremony in the Southern Lebanese town of Deir Qanoun Al-Nahr on Monday.
He noted that instead of helping the country find a solution to the worsening crisis, Washington has opted to exert more pressure and suffocate the Lebanese nation.
The Hezbollah official added that Lebanon is currently facing various financial, economic, and political problems, stressing that Lebanese people must adhere to their national standards or they will get carried away.
“Things have been clear to us ever since the current crisis broke out. We identified the root causes of the predicament and prescribed effective remedies. The problem does not rest with us. We cannot administer remedies alone in order to resolve lingering economic, social and livelihood problems. Things would not improve and we would not be able to change the course if others do not join hands with us,” Safieddine pointed out.
“Given our experience and understanding, the current crises will eventually end. The important thing is, nevertheless, to minimize losses and find appropriate solutions. This is the fundamental point of contention between us and others,” he noted.
The senior Hezbollah official said American delegates have sought to draw up a fictitious roadmap for Lebanese people, warning that the nation would lose its national pride, natural resources and economic prosperity in case it followed the path.