Coronavirus, economic crisis and poverty! The crosses of the Lebanese.

EN - Friday, 24 April 2020

In Lebanon, volunteers are making emergency donations at a time of unprecedented crisis throughout the country.

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When I arrived in Lebanon – several months ago - the country was going through a period of relative stability. My role as a volunteer was one that I enjoyed very much. From the very first moments I found myself immersed in the mission and mixed with the Lebanese population, helping in schools and on building sites. 

As we carried out our daily tasks with heart, my team and I realized that the situation in the land of the Cedars was deteriorating day by day. Since October 2019, tensions erupted all over the country, where various violent popular uprisings took place against the politicians.

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At the same time, Lebanese banks were currently going through the most difficult period in their history. As a result, on March 9, 2020, Lebanon is officially bankrupt. Three months ago, the conversion rate of the Lebanese pound was 1515 to the dollar. Today it is 3600. The free fall of the currency is leading to a general impoverishment of the Lebanese population. In fact, for the past few weeks, it has not been possible withdraw dollars out of Lebanon. Violence is increasing. To such an extent that some people, pushed to their limit by poverty, set themselves on fire in public places. 

Thus Lebanon, which has been plagued by violent demonstrations and the economic crisis, must now deal with the health emergency due to the coronavirus. The population must remain confined. The crisis is unprecedented. Poverty is exploding. What has this country, which is already on the brink of collapse, done to deal with yet another horror?

We love this country. And we can with a heavy heart see the coronavirus pandemic reinforcing its climate of humanitarian emergency.

But we sincerely believe, for this courageous people whom we admire, that no hardship is possible unless God has provided the way to overcome it.

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As we saw the situation worsening, we decided to act. For when hunger does its work, we must do our own: to stem it. Last week, a food truck came to drop off 3 tons of food at the foot of our building in Beirut. How many round trips did we make to get all that food to our apartment? And to take it down and compile it in the truck that came to pick it up two days later?

Once arrived in Rmeich, a beautiful village in the south of Lebanon, we were able to start preparing the assembly 132 parcels. With numb hands and slumped shoulders, we finished this long chain of preparation with joy. Each package cost us 36$ and weighs about 20 kg. It will meet the need of a family for two weeks. This makes us happy, of course. But how can we not be frustrated, knowing that we will not be able to help all those who need it ; knowing that our list of 132 families is by no means exhaustive and that so many people are asking us for help? What an ordeal to have to say no to those who need help because others need it even more...

We have been on the road for two whole days, going from family to family to deliver an emergency humanitarian package. The day before yesterday it was 50 families from Rmeich. Today it’s about 30 from Ain Ebel, a neighbouring village.

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We are experiencing rough days during which we are - for a moment - entering the lives of desperate people, looking them in their eyes, dropping off the bag of food, wishing them the best and immediately disappearing.

So much intensity in those moments. So many unforgettable glances. So much unimaginable distress. So much affection... I can't believe it.

Tomorrow is the last day of donations.

About 50 families are waiting for us...

Already anxious to go to sleep to be of service to them tomorrow.

Not all of us have the chance to go on the ground, but from your home you can help them. With the lockdown, many unnecessary spending is stopped. This surplus for us, may be the necessary for them.

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Hadrien, commmunication officer in Lebanon.