SCM’s representative in Lebanon, Ali Osseiran, has been busy with his team organizing distributions for the goods that finally arrived there – after almost a year in bureaucratic limbo. The first of several distributions took place in a town east of Saida called Mesh Elhabaes.
The donations distributed included blankets and quilts, medical equipment, walkers and crutches, hygiene supplies, clothing and toys. These are people hit hard by the economic collapse in Lebanon. They are getting basic supplies from SCM that they would otherwise have a hard time, or not be able to find at all.
We will have more photos from our distributions over the next few weeks so you can see that your donations are getting into the hands of refugees and people hit hard by the economic troubles of the country.
After many long months of working with Lebanese authorities, our container of donations has finally reached its destination and has been unloaded to prepare for distribution. Even though this has taken much longer than expected, there are still lots of people in need. We will be sharing photos of the distributions as we get them in.
Photo is from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Yes, snow does fall in the Middle East, but as you can imagine, it has a terrible impact on the refugees in the region still living in tents and other temporary shelters. Heavy snow can crush tents and ruin a family’s possessions, and leave them without shelter in the frigid and wet conditions. This is particularly true of northwest Syria, where snow and heavy rains have caused flooding and damaged roads, water supplies, and shelters across the region.
SCM has a partner in Turkey that can get supplies to northwest Syria and we need your help to get these supplies – blankets, food, medicines, heating oil, etc. We also need to help those affected in Lebanon and Jordan. While snow is not uncommon in the mountainous regions of Lebanon, snow at the coast in towns like Byblos is very rare and disruptive, and they did receive snow there yesterday. Many people in the region are being affected by the cold, snow and rain. Please help us to help them!
In Lebanon, people are going hungry because of the economic collapse. They simply do not have the money to buy food unless they can get US dollars to buy things, and too many people are not able to do that – they don’t have international connections and the banks are not letting people withdraw US dollars, a currency that had been used interchangeably with the Lebanese lira for years, and in fact the lira had been pegged to the dollar until 2019. For a better explanation of the economic downfall of Lebanon, read this article in The Nation magazine.
The economic situation is so dire right now with inflation causing prices to skyrocket, that people who were making a living wage, middle class income, can no longer afford to buy food, get gas for their cars or pay for electricity. So much is imported into Lebanon that is no longer available or in extremely short supply, such as wheat, paracetamol for pain relief and other medications, and the black marketeers are stepping up their activity for a price. Even women’s hygiene products are becoming extremely scarce, causing other effects for women in an already difficult situation.
SCM is active in Lebanon helping get food and medications to the people. We have also set up two free clinics to serve people who can’t afford to go to the doctor. We sent the first of two containers filled with supplies you donated to Lebanon to weeks ago and we have another awaiting the confirmation by the shipping company for the departure date. It will be loaded with more supplies including medical supplies, baby formula and diapers, solar lanterns, and other needed items. Our team in Lebanon will make sure every item is given to someone in need.
The situation is dire in Lebanon. I talked to one of our people that went to assess the situation and the stories he has to tell are heartbreaking. One such story is about a woman that works in a hospital and gets paid 1 million lira a month, which is equal to $25. Her husband is making $20 a month. How do they raise a family on this?
This story is indicative of what the middle class in Lebanon is going through, so imagine what the poor are going through. They are lucky to eat one meal a day and that does not include any meat. The babies have no formula, and they are drinking a water and sugar mixture and are at risk of severe malnutrition.
The Lebanese currency has been so devalued that it is hardly worth anything now, and it is getting worse. Nothing in the history of Lebanon has been this bad, even during the civil wars. We are witnessing a collapse of civil society with critical infrastructure breaking down – electricity is not regularly available and is very sporadic, and water treatment is on the brink of collapse, putting everyone that uses a public water supply at risk.
The SCM volunteers are all committed to helping everyone they can on the ground here and overseas. We have been able since the beginning of the crisis to help:
Two airlifts in partnership with the Jordan Hashemite Charities and the Jordan military, we sent two cargo planes of medical supplies and humanitarian goods to Beirut. These were distributed by our people so we know that they went to the people that needed them
Food parcels distributed in Zahle and Saida several times this year
Cancer medications worth $20K delivered and distributed
Donation to Red Cross Lebanon $250K
Funds were sent for emergency and surgical supplies
Our rep in Jordan flew into Lebanon a number of times with excess luggage of oxygen condensers, solar lanterns and other items from the warehouse in Madaba for distribution
We really need your help more now then ever. We just need as many people as possible to please make a contribution, no matter how much, everything will help. We are trying to raise $50K to get food and other supplies to the people. If we send $5000 that will buy food for one month for 200 families of 4, but that is not enough.
“Once known for its dynamic food, music and culture, Lebanon is now in the midst of the worst economic crisis in modern history. With no clear resolution in sight, the country is experiencing rolling blackouts, a shortage of food and a monthly inflation rate of 56%. The Lebanese Lira joins a list of dozens of failed fiat currencies including the Venezuelan Bolivar, the Zimbabwean Dollar and Argentinian Peso.“
Tatiana Koffman, Forbes (see link for full article)
This crisis has been escalating for a few years now, reaching a peak where the government soon won’t be able to keep the drinking water safe. As the economy collapses, the people need our help even more. Please donate today.