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Lebanese brace for lifting of subsidies as conditions deteriorate

As Lebanon suffers from its worst economic crisis in decades, the Lebanese are growing concerned as the central bank warns that its reserves will soon be depleted, forcing it to lift subsidies off basic commodities.
People arrive to receive food aid packages from workers, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, at the Food Blessed NGO's centre in Lebanon's capital Beirut on July 28, 2020. - Amid Lebanon's worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, food aid has become a lifeline even for the once relatively affluent middle class. Lebanon's economy has collapsed in recent months, with the local currency plummeting against the dollar, businesses closing en masse and poverty soaring at the same alarmi

BEIRUT — News of Lebanon's central bank, Banque du Liban (BDL), lifting subsidies on basic commodities, namely fuel, medicine and flour, by the end of 2020 is causing concern and fear for the majority of the Lebanese, especially the poor who account for 55% of the population in 2020, compared to 28% in 2019, according to estimates by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published Aug. 19. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of those suffering from extreme poverty increased three-fold, from 8% to 23%; they will soon be unable to purchase most of these goods, according to the same ESCWA estimates.

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