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Children From Over Half of Lebanese Families Skipped Meal in 2021

Children from more than half of the families in Lebanon skipped a meal in 2021 through October, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Nations agency dedicated to children, UNICEF. This is compared with nearly 37 percent in April.

The figures in the report, “Surviving without the basics; the ever-worsening impact of Lebanon’s crisis on children,” show a dramatic deterioration of living conditions in Lebanon over six months. The report is based on telephone surveys in which 1,244 households were interviewed in April and 838 in October.

Lebanon is simultaneously struggling with one of the world’s worst economic depressions in modern history, the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the massive August 2020 Beirut Port explosions. Recent estimates show that nearly 8 in 10 Lebanese live in poverty and 36 per cent in extreme poverty.

The survey found that more than 45% of the families had insufficient drinking water at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey, as compared with under 20% in April, with 35% of the cases because of the cost. Some  40% of families had to sell household items, up from 33 per cent, in order to purchase food. Some 70% had to buy food on credit or borrow money to afford food, a 10% increase from April. In addition, almost 34% of children who required primary health care did not receive it, up from 28% in April. Meanwhile, almost 12% of families sent children to work.