What happens when the odds are that you’re more likely to die of hunger than catch and perish from Covid-19? How do you make that calculation, and what do you do about it?
Over the past two months, since I moved to Beirut, that irresistible veneer of “we thrive despite everything thrown at us” has been scratched off the surface of Lebanon. A tidal wave of economic collapse – one that loomed large on the horizon last October, triggering an uprising – has finally crashed over its shores.
The Lebanese authorities have admitted at least three-quarters of the six million or so who live in Lebanon now rely on aid to survive. Among the worst hit are those in the country’s second largest but most impoverished city, Tripoli, in the north. Residents who simply cannot afford to eat have poured into the streets over the last few weeks, despite coronavirus lockdowns still being officially in place.