For several months now, Lebanon has been shaken by the most serious economic crisis in its history, marked by an unprecedented depreciation of its national currency, which has plunged nearly half the population into poverty.
“Because of the difficult living conditions Lebanon is suffering from, the military institution, which is going through the same economic difficulties, has removed meat from the meals served to soldiers during their service,” according to the ANI.
In a country where almost everything is imported, the price of food products jumped 72% between October 2019 and the end of May 2020, according to the Consumer Protection Association.
In almost two months, the price per kilo of beef at some butchers in Beirut has risen from 18,000 Lebanese pounds to 50,000 pounds, while mutton now stands at 80,000 pounds compared to 30,000 pounds previously.
This hyperinflation is likely to continue as the pound continues to plummet on the black market.
The country is sinking into crisis
On Tuesday, the national currency is trading at more than 8,000 pounds to the dollar, compared to 5,000 pounds to the dollar ten days ago. Officially, the pound is still indexed to the dollar since 1997 at a fixed rate of 1,507 pounds.
The Union of Butchers and Livestock Dealers reported Tuesday in a statement that “more than 60 percent of meat shops” have closed due to the “soaring dollar.
“Unblock our money from the banks or subsidize the sector,” the union warned the authorities. “Otherwise we’ll have no choice but to close”.
The current crisis has brought an end to a middle class already eroded by years of economic downturn. According to the authorities, 45% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The economic crisis was one of the catalysts in October of an unprecedented uprising against the entire political class, accused of corruption and incompetence.