Around 70 tons of food aid landed in Lebanon on Sunday as part of Qatar’s monthly assistance to help the country cope with its worst economic crisis in decades.
The freight was loaded by the Qatar Emiri Air Force and landed on Saturday at Rafic Hariri International Airport, where Lebanon’s army received it. This comes as part of a monthly assistance effort announced earlier in July to help the country battle its crumbling economy.
The donation plan of 70 tons of food per month was announced by Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during a visit to Beirut, and comes as part of the Gulf nation’s commitment to joint Arab action.
It followed a call for assistance by Lebanon’s army chief, Joseph Aoun, who appealed to the world a month earlier during a meeting organised by France, stating that the army is in desperate need of support following the plunge of the Lebanese Lira and heightened inflation.
“The support comes within the framework of the State of Qatar’s constant endeavors to help resolve the political crisis in Lebanon, and its firm commitment to support the Republic of Lebanon and stand by the brotherly Lebanese people,” Qatar’s state news agency QNA reported in July.
Following the announcement, Lebanese President Michel Aoun expressed his gratitude for “Qatar’s ongoing support”, according to a statement released by his office.
Lebanon has been battling with what was dubbed as ‘one of the worst depressions of modern history’, by the World Bank.
Since the crisis erupted in 2019, the country’s currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value against the United States Dollar. Officially, one dollar currently equals 1511.10 Lebanese Lira, however in reality the exchange rate is 1USD to more than 23,000 LL, causing the price of essentials to strike at an all-time high.
The steep descension of the lira has caused over half of the population to be propelled into poverty. Meanwhile, Qatar aims to continue assisting with alleviating the suffering economy, and preventing it from total collapse.
Over the last months, Lebanon has been scrambling to secure fuel after the country’s two main power plants went out of commission, due to severe fuel shortages that have left the nation in dire need of assistance.
The shortage caused long lines and brawls at petrol stations, with officials warning that the country is a few days away from a “social explosion”. Hospitals have also struggled, fearing the safety of their patients.
In December 2021, Qatar announced that it is ready to provide Lebanon with much-needed gas supplies.
The Director of Lebanon’s General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, spoke about a potential cooperation in the energy market with Qatar’s Energy Minister, Saad bin Sherida Al-Kaabi a few weeks back, and the possibility of supplying Lebanon with Qatari gas.
“Our brothers in Qatar are ready to provide Lebanon with the quantities necessary to cover its needs”.
“But there are details that are being followed up, including the issue of financing. In principle, the directives of His Highness the Emir, Tamim bin Hamad, are clear and explicit, which is to help Lebanon with everything that Qatar can help with, and I believe that we will get the Qatari aid we need,” Ibrahim told Qatari paper Al-Sharq.