Lebanon Faces Bailout Ultimatum, with Coronavirus Surge

Image courtesy of Uncharted Ministries.

A lousy year turns even worse for Lebanon. According to Reuters, Western powers just handed Beirut an ultimatum: there will be no bailout unless they form a credible government to overhaul a bankrupt state – and do it quickly.

The news comes as leaders issued a nationwide lockdown to contain another COVID-19 breakout. Restrictions began on November 14 and continue through the end of the month. “We are worried that we might reach a point where people die in the streets with no places available at hospitals,” caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said when he announced the lockdown last week.

“I don’t know how many people will follow this because it’s hard on the economy,” Nuna* of Triumphant Mercy says.

“People can’t continue this way.”

Under the latest lockdown restrictions, only companies working in specific sectors can open their doors. That puts small business owners in a challenging position.

“If they open, they’re going to get a big fine. But economically, they can’t afford to [stay] closed, so it’s a hard situation,” Nuna says.

Losing hope in Lebanon

Lebanon began the year under a new prime minister who faced overwhelming economic and governance challenges. Then came COVID-19, food shortages, protests, and the deadly August explosion. See our Lebanon coverage here.

Today, half of Lebanon’s population lives below the poverty line, and that number is steadily rising. “People who used to have some work, who used to be able to support themselves, now are turning to us,” Nuna says.

“We have never seen this before. It’s really, really hard on people; really, really hard.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for Lebanese believers as they answer spiritual questions with Gospel hope.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage His followers as they respond to increasing needs.

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