BEIRUT – CNN reported this morning on the growing and potentially crippling crisis in Lebanon. A crisis of which most of us have been unaware.
The National Crisis
“Lebanon [is] mired in its worst economic crisis since its 15-year civil war. The country is buckling under a severe liquidity crisis, with informal and irregular capital controls being imposed across its banking sector. Layoffs and salary cuts are rampant. Fuel supplies have been interrupted, and food prices are soaring . . . the country is [in] a complete economic breakdown.”
According to Euronews, the Lebanese currency has “lost more than 60% of its value since last summer, and with (bank account) withdrawal limits in place, average Lebanese people have struggled to pay for fuel and other basic goods.”
Lebanon’s former Economy Minister, Mansour Bteish, cast a dark shadow over the country’s central bank reserves. “In my opinion, the reserve has become negative.”
The Personal Impact
The economic crisis is beginning to cripple residents and businesses across the country, including Lebanese citizens and the vast number of refugees from the neighboring state of Syria.
Consumers are being squeezed between increasing prices and decreasing wages. The prices of groceries and other essentials have increased by as much as 40 percent. At the same time, wages have been cut in half for many workers. Being unable to withdraw urgently need money from their bank accounts is additionally discouraging for families.
Pierre Houssney of Horizons International said, “Things feel a little bit dark.” NGOs operating in Lebanon are not exempt from the financial crunch. They, too, face the same issues. Funds simply don’t go as far as they did in advance of the crisis. It is becoming challenging to keep the budgetary commitments that keep ministries going.
“[Last month] we actually had to cut off . . . all 39 churches that we had been supporting with food portions . . . Not just because there are not enough donations to cover the food supplies, but also, even the food distributors that we’re getting food from, a lot of them have stopped being able even to get the materials.”
FBOs are having to cut back on various programs to remain financially stable.
Believers who are primarily from Muslim backgrounds are evidencing the fruit of tribulation that Paul describes in Romans 5:3-5. Houssney reported that they are remaining steadfast in the faith and committed to Jesus Christ.
He also reminds us that these are the times when we need to remember to “regain our vision that this is about the Gospel. This is about salvation.”
Please pray for the ministries working amongst the people in Lebanon. And, let’s remember that whether the crisis is in Lebanon, in the United States . . . wherever it is, our vision must always be about sharing the Gospel. Out ministry must always be about salvation through Jesus Christ.
To read more news on Lebanon on Missions Box, go here.
- Mission Network News, Lebanese families struggle to buy groceries
- Euronews, Lebanon is burning. World leaders at Davos have little interest in putting it out
- Reuters, Lebanon’s new government may have little reserves left to stabilize economy
- CNN, After 100 days of rage, Lebanon has a new government — and a deepening crisis