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Lebanon's elderly population devastated by crash

As one of the 16 countries in the world that don’t offer social security, older people in Lebanon are spending their last years struggling and depending on aid groups to survive.
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Habeeb and Elham Copti used to have a good life. The Lebanese couple remembers the old days when they could eat meat, afford medications and have the lights on — even send presents to their grandchildren. But those times are over. When Habeeb retired, their income stopped and now, both in their 80s, they are facing poverty and uncertainty in Lebanon's economic crisis. "There is no pension from the government when you are old like in most countries. No one is helping us so how are we supposed to pay our bills?” asked Habeeb with tears in his eyes.

Lebanon is one of the 16 countries in the world that don't offer social security, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). The Lebanese Republic is home to the highest number of elders in the region: 11% of its population is over the age of 65. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia expects that figure to increase to 23.3% by 2050.

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