Lebanon: Children’s future on the line
The devastating, compounding impacts of economic depression, COVID-19, the Beirut Port explosions and political instability
The prolonged economic depression is just one of the mutually reinforcing crises in Lebanon, which is reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the massive August 2020 Beirut Port explosions, as well as persistent political instability. In addition, Lebanon has the highest proportion of refugees per capita in the world, hosting 1.5 million Syrians and over 200,000 Palestinian refugees.
Faced with major inflation and rising unemployment, people are finding it increasingly difficult to access basic services – as their quality continues to rapidly decline. Poverty among the Lebanese almost doubled to 55 per cent in 2020, from 28 percent in 2018, while extreme poverty tripled from 8 percent.
Children across Lebanon are the worst hit. With no end in sight to the devastating crisis, their health and safety are at risk and their very future is at stake.
A growing number of parents are finding it impossible to provide for their children. Having exhausted all other options, many are taking desperate measures to support their families, including sending their children to work, marrying off their young girls, skipping meals and incurring debt they can’t afford. Children, some as young as 6, work in the streets, in agricultural fields and garages or on construction sites, where they are exposed to risks of exploitation, violence and abuse.