Islamic Relief is responding to a desperate humanitarian crisis in Lebanon where there is a rapid socio-economic decline, made worse by the devastating explosion in Beirut in 2020.
Poverty is rife in Lebanon, as millions of people lose their jobs and are unable to find work in a country gripped by one of the most severe economic crises of this century.
People are are struggling to provide food for their families, and to access basic services. In unemployed men particularly, this has led to low self-esteem.
Children are also being deprived of their right to attend school.
Concerns are growing about criminal behaviour, with fears that Lebanese youth are resorting to stealing to provide for their desperate families.
Qassem, 29, is the main breadwinner for his family. He and his wife Sarah, 22, are struggling to raise their 2 young daughters. Since the deadly explosion in Beirut, Qassem has been unemployed and struggling to provide for his family.
“I wake up in the early morning as usual to look for a job or to find any work to secure the daily sustenance for my family, this is my only concern,” he says. “Sometimes I find work for a few hours but mostly I return to my two little daughters with empty hands. This is my life, and this is my routine.”
Islamic Relief has supported Qassem’s family by renovating and improving their house for safer living.
“Before the renovation, my house was uninhabitable. Saving my house saved my marriage, since my wife wanted to take my daughters and leave me, she refused to live in a destroyed house and would not accept the idea of raising her daughters in such an environment,” he says.
“Unfortunately, my little daughters do not attend school. I’m so sad, as a man that cannot afford learning for his kids. I cannot pay school expenses and I thank God if I am able to feed them.”
He continues describing his living situation, “I have no furniture to sit on, I only have a small gas stove to cook on, my washing machine has broken. Also, we don’t have a clean water, the water is always salty and our eyes burn due to the salty water when washing our faces.”
Regarding sanitisers and masks to protect his family in the Covid-19 crisis, he says, “I just want to tell you that I cannot afford anything except soap. Poverty and destitution cannot be described in any words, may God help every poor man.”
Lebanon’s economic crisis means that support is needed now more than ever to aid families struggling to survive daily life.