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WFP gives Lebanon $5.4b for citizens, Syrians

By AFP - Nov 21,2022 - Last updated at Nov 21,2022

BEIRUT — Crisis-hit Lebanon has secured $5.4 billion in aid over three years from the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Monday.

The country has been mired since 2019 in a financial crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the worst in recent history.

"The WFP executive board has decided in its latest meeting in Rome to allocate $5.4 billion to Lebanon over the next three years," Mikati told a press conference in Beirut alongside the agency's representative in Lebanon, Abdallah Alwardat.

According to the premier, the aid money will be "shared equally" by Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees.

Around two million Syrian refugees are in Lebanon. Nearly 830,000 of them are registered with the United Nations.

WFP schemes have supported Syrian refugees in Lebanon since 2012, when large numbers of them began fleeing the war that started a year earlier in their home country.

The WFP "will continue to provide emergency assistance in kind and in cash", Alwardat said.

The new aid package would support "a million Syrian refugees and a million Lebanese" between 2023 and 2025, he added.

Lebanon's financial meltdown has caused poverty rates to reach more than 80 per cent of the Lebanese population, as food prices have risen by 2,000 per cent, according to the United Nations.

Most Syrian refugees live in poverty, and their living conditions have worsened due to Lebanon's economic woes.

The United Nations said in late 2020 that 89 per cent of them live in extreme poverty, compared with 59 per cent in 2019.

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