LEBANON: Months' worth of bread costs 44% of minimum wage, as families cut back on basic food
The amount of food on the table for children in Lebanon is shrinking by the day, Save the Children said today, as bread prices soar by another 11% due to the worsening crisis. A months' ration of bread now sets families back by almost half a monthly minimum wage.
A bag of flatbread costs 5,000 Lebanese Pounds in supermarkets, over three times as much as last year- a knock-on effect of fuel prices soaring and the economy collapsing. Lebanon's poorest families likely need at least two bags of bread a day amid their inability to afford nutritious food such as rice, lentils, and eggs.
This means the monthly cost of bread consumption (around 300,000 pounds) is around 44% of the monthly minimum wage, which is 675,000 pounds[i].
Poverty is plunging families into a deep hunger crisis. Save the Children recently revealed that families need almost ten times the minimum wage just to secure the basics. Currently, almost a quarter of the Lebanese population and half of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are facing food shortages.[ii]
Jennifer Moorehead, Save the Children's Country Director in Lebanon, said:
"No family can go without bread in Lebanon. If bread will fall out of reach - which is already happening in some cases - there is no plan B besides hunger. Children are telling us they are going to bed hungry, and parents report having to skip meals entirely. Thousands of families are now relying on bread-based meals, and will now feel this is going to be taken away from them. The situation for children, especially young ones, is increasingly desperate."
The triple impact of extensive power cuts, high fuel prices and expensive food are pushing more people from all backgrounds into dangerous territory, Save the Children said.
Ms Moorehead continued:
"Lebanon is in a freefall and children are the first to feel the impact. We urge the Lebanese government to provide the poorest families in the hardest hit economic groups with cash support, to help them at least secure minimum needs and stop the crisis from turning into a national catastrophe for Lebanon's children."
[i] Currency collapse has seen minimum wage value in real terms plunge to around $35 USD per month.
[ii] WFP numbers https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000131072/download/?_ga=2.118129353.1723325492.1629890674-696345049.1627301141
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