Lebanon Approves Half a Billion Dollar Rescue Plan
Lebanon’s parliament on Wednesday passed an emergency $556 million bailout for impoverished families, amid a growing financial crisis that led the Lebanese pound to lose over 90% of its value and plunged the country into chaos. According to the approved plan, each family eligible for the payment will receive just over $90 a month, which could allow the government to end a $6 billion subsidy program for basic goods. The struggling nation has seen fuel prices, already high, spike by a further 35% this week, leading to violent confrontations at gas stations. Lebanon’s central bank recently asked the Beirut government to authorize the use of its mandatory reserves, yet another dire sign of how severe the crisis has become. Billions of dollars in foreign aid are awaiting the beleaguered state, pending the formation of a stable government and the passage of a string of reforms, largely opposed by the powerful Hizbullah movement. The past year’s global pandemic and August’s devastating explosion in Beirut have served to worsen the situation.