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Humanitarian aid scrambles to circumvent Lebanon’s bread crisis

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lebanon is expected to run out of bread in 2½ weeks. Pics: GettyImages/alefbet/Mo Semsem
Lebanon is expected to run out of bread in 2½ weeks. Pics: GettyImages/alefbet/Mo Semsem

Related tags: Lebanon, United nations, World food programme, Bread, Grain

The head of the United Nations’ food agency said the beleaguered country – which is battling economic and political woes, the COVID-19 pandemic and a major blast that tore through its capital city – could run out of bread in about 2½ weeks.

Last week’s massive explosion destroyed the country’s main port,​ through which 85% of its grain is funnelled to the rest of Lebanon.

However, David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, told a virtual UN briefing on the humanitarian situation there could be temporary relief as the port’s 5th​ basin remains intact.

“At the devastated site, we found a footprint that we can operate on a temporary basis,” ​he said. “Working with the Lebanese army, we believe that we can clear part of that site.”

The Associated Press reported that two ships have been able to dock at the site, one of which is carrying grain.

According to Beasley, another ship with 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour is expected to arrive in Beirut within two weeks, which will give Lebanon a bread supply for 20 days.

“While we’re doing that, we’ve got a 30-day supply of about 30,000 metric tons of wheat that we’re bringing in, and then another 100,000 metric tons over the next 60 days after that,”​ he added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pledged “the United Nations will stand with Lebanon to help alleviate the immediate suffering and support its recovery.”

Related topics: Markets, Middle East, Supply chain, Bakery

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