The number of children in Lebanon facing crisis levels of hunger is projected to increase by 14% early this year unless urgent action is taken, Save the Children warned.
Four in 10 Lebanese and Syrian refugee children in the country currently face high acute food insecurity – Phase 3 and above in the IPC acute food security classification system – due to a food crisis caused by years of economic instability and fuelled by global climate and hunger shocks.
Already, figures from the first IPC (September-December 2022) acute food insecurity analysis conducted in Lebanon showed that 37% of the Lebanese and Syrian population in Lebanon are living with high acute food insecurity, with over 306,000 people facing severe lack of food access which could lead to starvation. This figure is expected to increase from 37% to 42% – including 354,000 in IPC Phase 4 – for the first quarter of 2023 if urgent action is not taken.
This makes Lebanon the sixth worst food crisis globally for share of population that is food insecure, after South Sudan, Yemen, Haiti, Afghanistan and Central African Republic.
The socio-economic crisis in Lebanon has pushed three-quarters of the population into poverty, with frequent power cuts, a disastrous cholera outbreak that has trickled across neighbouring countries and a worsening cash crisis deteriorating living conditions for millions of people.
“The crisis in Lebanon is increasingly a children’s crisis. The first five years of a child’s life are critical, and we fear that without enough nutritious food to eat, an increasing number of children will become malnourished, or even face starvation. Families are telling us they’re forced to skip meals or reduce the number of nutritious meals for their children. More needs to be done to prevent Lebanon from becoming the next tragic hunger emergency,” said Save the Children’s Country Director in Lebanon Jennifer Moorehead.
Save the Children has been working in Lebanon since 1953. For over six decades, Save the Children has used rights-based approaches to increase access by children, adolescents, and youth to quality education; to strengthen child participation and protection at the family, school and community levels; and to increase food security and access to livelihood opportunities, clean water and proper shelter.