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2.2 million people in Lebanon need food urgently -- UN

BEIRUT, June 16 (KUNA) -- The resident UN coordinator Najat Rushdie on Thursday warned against lack of food security in Lebanon saying that up to 2.2 million people need urgent aid such as food and other necessities.
Speaking at a news conference, Rushdie said the World Bank predicts drop of the Lebanese Gross Domestic Product by 5.5 percent later this year after falling by 10.5 percent and 21.4 percent in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Unemployment portrays poverty with a third of work-capable people are without jobs, she said, adding that the total joblessness proportion rose by 11.4 percent in 2018 and 2019, and by 29.6 percent in 2022, adding that the minimum wage ebbed to less than USD 25 per month.
As for the health sector, she has sounded the alarm bell that the sector is on the verge of collapse, disclosing that 1.25 million people all over the country are in need for health services, amid lack of medicines and soaring costs of medical drugs and hospitalization.
The hospitals are suffering from drastic shortage of medical supplies and power, while 40 percent of the doctors have left the country, in addition to 30 percent of the nursing workforce.
The current crisis is also affecting children and there are hundreds of them who have been sleeping at night while suffering from hunger. Many of them are not given medical aid. Moreover, 460,000 children and women need nutrition and 350,000 kids lack protection.
Touching on the UN "emergency response plan," Rushdie said it has so far received 51.4 percent of the required funding, some USD 197 million, where more than 600,000 Lebanese and refugees have been given aid, since its launch in April 2022.
Rushdie called for mapping out a full-scale integrated scheme to enable people have access to basic services.
Lebanon is reeling under an unprecedented eco-socio crisis, partly manifested with a very week pound, currently trading at around 27,000 to a single USD. (end) kbs.rk