Lebanon has been witnessing economic and political turmoil for weeks now. Several anti-government protests in the wake of hyper-devaluation of the currency and inflation triggered by decades of economic crisis have mired the Mediterranean country.
As nearly half of the Lebanese population currently suffers from poverty, the country is also witnessing a surge in crime rates across various regions. According to data collected by Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, incidents of thefts and robberies have increased manifold in the past weeks.
Evidently, Lebanon’s crime rate has reached a six-year peak in the first half of 2020 as a result of the deepening economic turmoil in the country. Lebanese police have recorded cases of theft involving basic necessities such as food, medicine, and baby milk.
As the country heavily relies on imports, prices of food, baby care products, and medicine have reportedly increased record high. Since October, Lebanon’s currency has lost more than 80% of its value and the US dollar has vanished from the black market unexpectedly. As a result, Lebanese people are finding it difficult to buy food and other essential supplies. Economic instability is leading to empty shelves at grocery stores and frequent electricity power cuts.
With people facing job losses and salary cuts, they are resorting to thefts and robberies to survive during the critical situation. At the same time, they are not able to withdraw their dollar savings from the banks due to banking regulations due to which they are stocking up cash at their homes or offices. Apart from food and money, cars are also being increasingly stolen according to the police.
Furthermore, incidents of suicide have also surged in Lebanon, with people and police linking them to the spiralling economic downturn in the country. Lack of administrative action and consistent devaluation of Lebanon’s official currency ‘Lira’ have intensified desperation, anger frustration among the citizens who are trying to survive during a coinciding pandemic crisis.
Citizens have been carrying out large protests in a bid to raise concerns about their struggles and to bring down the government. Political observers have also asserted that governmental corruption and external interference have crippled the country’s ability to seek international assistance for assistance in pulling out the economy from crisis.
Political differences and government malpractices have delayed reforms called by the international community which would have helped bring stability to the country’s economy.
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