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'Worse than the war': Hunger grows in Lebanon along with anger

Al Jazeera
Human Rights Watch
International Monetary Fund
the National Poverty Targeting Program
Social Affairs
the Lebanese Army
Al Jazeera NewsTimour
Al Jazeera Media Network

Hassan Diab
Richard Kouyoumjian
Mahmoud Kataya
Ramzi Moucharafieh


the Middle East

the Corruption Observatory


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But later added that some 44,000 names had been vetted and passed stringent criteria to receive aid. The government says aid will now be dispersed 'in the next few days' to allow time for the Lebanese Army, one of the country's only respected institutions, to audit the names in the database.Mahmoud Kataya, anti-corruption activist and community aid organiserWhile the government struggles to give meagre aid to only a fraction of those in need, the numbers falling into poverty grow by the day.Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Moucharafieh estimated earlier this week that some 75 percent of the population is in need of assistance.But with none forthcoming from the state for the majority, people are turning to begging, or relying on the goodwill of groups organising donations.Mahmoud Kataya, a 40-year-old activist with anti-corruption NGO the Corruption Observatory, has been managing aid deliveries to families in need in Beirut, along with activists he met during the protests.While he says they had initial success in gathering donations to support hundreds of families, he warned that resources are running dry, and those passing out aid are now paying out of their own nearly empty pockets."The problem is that, when an old woman or man calls you and cries because they don't have food for their kids, you will give them the flesh off your bones," he said. "My neighbours are helping me but we're all pretty much in the same situation." Abid, who asked Al Jazeera to withhold his surname, said he owes three months rent on his house, two months rent on his small shop, and has not been able to work a day in the past month due to the lockdown.As conditions become more dire, people are defying the government's stay-at-home orders to voice their discontent in the streets.Protests have erupted in Beirut, Sidon, Tripoli and the town of Aley on Thursday and Friday, in complete violation of social distancing measures and the curfew in place.While the anti-establishment protests that erupted last year called for freedom, secularism and unity, the tone of demonstrations has shifted to something more visceral and immediate; an outcry of people fighting for their very survival. "Get off our backs, we are hungry," those in Aley chanted as they marched through dark streets.

As said here by Timour Azhari