The war in Ukraine is rationing Lebanon

Wheat reserve is expected to last 1 month only in Lebanon. Already severely affected by an economic and humanitarian crisis, Lebanon is now facing the consequences of the war in Ukraine. While the majority of the population is already struggling to feed itself, they are now living in fear of shortages which could have serious consequences, warns the NGO CARE in Lebanon.  

"The war in Ukraine risks having consequences far beyond its borders. In Lebanon, for more than a week now, bakeries have been rationing bread, an essential product for feeding the poorest. Last Monday, the price of a bag of bread increased by 20%," warns Bujar Hoxha, director of CARE in Lebanon.  

Wheat reserve is expected to last 1 month only, according to official statement by Minister of Finance. Indeed, Lebanon is very dependent on agriculture, importing 66% of its wheat from Ukraine and 12% from Russia. And since the explosion of the port of Beirut in 2020 and the partial destruction of the silos in the city's port, it is now very difficult to store seeds. In addition to wheat, other consumer products from Ukraine and Russia, including cooking oil and milk powder, have been missing from supermarket shelves for over a week.

"The other major concern is the soaring price of oil. The Lebanese public service provides barely two hours of electricity a day. To make up for this, the infrastructure and citizens rely on private generators to survive. But as prices rise, people are forced to ration their electricity. Lebanon is in danger of being plunged into darkness! And this does not only concern individuals but also and especially hospitals, schools and other vital sectors. In addition, there are problems with access to water, which is supplied by electricity. More than 900,000 Lebanese and one million Syrian refugees had already reported shortages last year."  

Lebanese men and women who already faced a gasoline shortage last summer are expecting the worst. In the past week, gas stations have closed twice. Queues are beginning to form in front of gas pumps as authorities stress that they can only guarantee price stability for the next two weeks.  

"While for the past two years many Lebanese and Syrian refugees have relied entirely on international aid and local humanitarian initiatives to survive, the main fear is that international aid will diminish with much of the funding going directly to Ukraine. Yet, Lebanon needs support more than ever!"