Slow-paced Social Safety Programmes Culprit To Hungry Children In Lebanese Houses

children in a majority of families in lebanon are missing meals

children in a majority of families in lebanon are missing meals

Lebanon Lebanon – According to the UN allied agency UNICEF, children in a majority of families in Lebanon are missing meals. Cases of malnutrition are rampant in many families.  The report confirms that amidst ‘dramatic deteriorating living conditions’, children were going hungry and the trend has been in one family amongst every ten.

Since the deepening economic crises and Covid-19 induced poverty, eight out of ten people are threatened by either poverty or lack of food. The report, Surviving Without the Basics, highlighted a dramatic deterioration in living conditions of households interviewed in April and then again in October. They include Lebanese families as well as Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

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Agencies feel inaction is not an option, because the cost of it will be too high to manage in the coming years. The report found that more than half of the families (53.4 per cent) surveyed in October this year, said that at least one child missed a meal in the previous 30 days because the family did not have enough food, a dramatic increase from 36.7 per cent in April 2021.

A major cause of this disproportionate situation is decades of corruption and mismanagement. Indeed, this is reason enough to understand as to why there has been 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 states. A third of them have cited cost as the main factor.

The report also states that unfortunately, less than three in 10 families have ever received social assistance, leading them to take “desperate measures.” The UNICEF representatives say that one can blame it on the slow-paced progress made by the PM Najib Mikati’s government. Mikati has been sluggish on social safety programmes including a $246 million World Bank-funded project adopted by parliament in March and a $556 million ration card scheme backed by the legislature in June.

Shreya Shah

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