World Bank approves $300 million more to help poor Lebanese
Lebanon is in the throes of the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history, with over 75 percent of the population now living in poverty
The World Bank said Friday it approved $300 million in additional funding for Lebanon’s poor, providing cash payments to help families struggling through the country’s historic economic meltdown.
Lebanon has been in the throes of the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history, since October 2019, with over 75 percent of the population now living in poverty.
The new financing comes two years after the institution approved a $246 million loan to Lebanon, to provide emergency cash assistance to hundreds of thousands in the tiny Mediterranean nation of six million people.
“The additional financing will enable the government of Lebanon to continue to respond to the growing needs of poor and vulnerable households suffering under the severe economic and financial crisis,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, the World Bank’s Middle East director, AP News reported.
He noted that the additional financing would provide cash transfers to 160,000 households for two years, and each eligible household will receive up to $145. The project is being jointly handled by Lebanon’s Social Affairs Ministry and the World Food Program (WFP).
The additional funding followed the announcement of a separate initiative by the UN refugee agency and the WFP which includes cash payments to refugees in U.S. dollars, with a maximum of $125 per family monthly.
Since the collapse of Lebanon’s currency, UN agencies have been paying assistance to refugees in Lebanese pounds. However, “the rapid depreciation of the pound, increased fluctuations of the exchange rate, and the strain on the financial provider in supplying large volumes of cash in Lebanese pounds” led to the change.
But Lebanon’s caretaker Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar said that Beirut rejected it “because paying Syrian refugees in dollars would make them stay in Lebanon.”