Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon’s new government is taking steps to fix the broken economy. It raised fuel prices for the second time in five days, part of a gradual effort to end subsidies.
Gas and diesel now cost 10-times more than they did before the 2019 crisis – if you can make it to the pump.
“The government instituted an app to control who’s buying gas and how often you can buy gas. You sign up, make an appointment, go to the local gas station where you made the appointment, and nobody will let you in line because they’ve been waiting in line for three hours,” Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says.
“The legal system doesn’t work. The black market system works well.”
“The (Iranian) ships are sitting off the coast. But if they deliver it (fuel) to the part of Beirut, they will break the American treaty, and that means the banking systems from the West will shut down,” Atema explains.
“So these ships are going north and unloading, technically, in Syria and then bringing it into Lebanon through Tripoli.”
Finding hope amid hardship
The fuel crisis is one of many. Lebanon also now holds the highest inflation rate in the world, according to Bloomberg. The currency lost nearly 90-percent of its value.
In the past two years, multiple crises spiraled out of control, plunging three-quarters of the population into poverty. See our full Lebanon coverage here.
“The latest statistics from the UN say that 87-percent of people living in Lebanon need some humanitarian aid to survive. That’s Lebanese, Syrian refugees; everybody in the country,” Atema says.
There’s at least one silver lining. “When major catastrophes take place, people are wide open to answers [from different sources],” Atema says.
“They’re asking questions, and we have opportunities like never before to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“The need is there; that opens up the door [to] what we call access ministries,” Atema says.
Heart for Lebanon teams assess the specific needs of each family and offer unconditional physical care by providing essential survival items – supplemental food, hygiene supplies, wood stoves, bedding, mattresses, etc. During home visits, believers begin to share about the person of Jesus Christ.
What starts as a simple conversation often turns into a life transformed by hope.
“[We have] added 3,600 families we’re serving every month [and] we’re helping 700 families through local church partnerships,” Atema says.
Header image courtesy of Heart for Lebanon.