Lebanon is facing a dire food security situation with 2.26 million people, including 1.46 million Lebanese residents and 800,000 refugees, expected to be in a state of "crisis" or worse, according to the country's first Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Food Insecurity Analysis. The results of the analysis were launched by Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Lebanon, Nora Ourabah Haddad, and World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director in Lebanon, Abdallah Al Wardat. The study conducted by 55 national experts in September revealed that the district of Akkar has the highest level of acute food insecurity among Lebanese residents, followed by Baabda, Baalbek, and Tripoli, while among Syrian refugees, Zahle district has the highest level of acute food insecurity, followed by Baalbek and Akkar.
A three-year economic crisis, which has seen the currency depreciate heavily and protective food subsidies lifted, has resulted in rising living costs and has prevented families from accessing enough food and other basic needs each day. The results of the IPC analysis give a bleak picture of the food security in the country, highlighting the urgent need for national and international stakeholders to come together to provide sustainable support through combining humanitarian and development interventions in an integrated approach, says FAO's Nora Ourabah Haddad.
Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan said that the launch provided an opportunity "to discuss together solutions that keep pace with the crises that Lebanon suffers from, in light of the social and economic crises". He added that the aim has always been to create a joint realistic vision for the Lebanese society on the economic and social levels, linking to food security, and to ensure the ability of the Lebanese citizen to secure their daily needs.
The two UN agencies said in their press release on the launch that as they expand assistance across Lebanon, people's needs continue to grow due to ongoing local and global crises. These challenges are pushing more people into food insecurity, making it increasingly difficult for them to access adequate food and nutrition. They expressed gratitude for the commitment of their donors and called for additional support from the international community to help address this critical situation. Without urgent action, the consequences for the health and well-being of these vulnerable populations will be severe.