BEIRUT, Lebanon (UPI) — With no new government in sight to adopt reforms that would release urgently needed international aid, poverty is growing in Lebanon, with a pervasive fear that it’s going to get worse.
The streets are increasingly filled with beggars, mostly Syrian refugees. The minimum monthly wage has fallen to 600,000 Lebanese lira, the equivalent of $400 just a year ago, currently worth $69 at the black market rate.
In August, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimated Lebanon’s poverty rate had surged to 55 percent in May, compared to 28 percent last year.
Bader Jamal el Naboulsi, a construction worker from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood in Tripoli, has been jobless for months.
“Now, I just do anything like cleaning homes and carpets or [work] as porter to raise at the end of the day 25,000 LL,” which equates to $16 at the official