Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon faces not only COVID-19, but a financial crisis and a food shortage. Now, protests have started back up after the coronavirus caused a brief lull.
Violence erupted In Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli when banks were attacked and military clashed with civilians. One man was killed, and dozens were injured.
The issue of food shortage, Nuna from Triumphant Mercy Lebanon says, comes from two sources. “Lebanon is really heavily dependent on imported food. This is now in shortage. But there’s also the economic crisis because so many people have been laid off work. We already had an economic problem in Lebanon: we had recession. We have high unemployment. With this pandemic, so many people have been laid off their work because everything shut down. Factories are shutting down, malls are shutting down.”
Lebanese citizens can’t depend on the government sending stimulus checks, like people in the United States can. Nuna says, “We had the distribution of food, and people were begging us, [saying], ‘I have nothing at home, not even bread at home.’”
Triumphant Mercy does distribute food, as well as medicine and fuel. But with economic hardships and trouble with the banks, Nuna says, “This is not something that we can sustain.” The Lebanese people grow desperate, and some have said they would rather die from COVID-19 than from hunger.
Open to the Gospel
With Lebanon is such a rough state, Nuna says, “Everything that can be shaken has been shaken. Every kind of anchor that they try to hold on to, whether it is a leader, or it is a financial security, of some kind of help from somewhere, everything is now gone.”
Nuna says people in Lebanon have started asking questions about God constantly, even searching questions on the internet. Triumphant Mercy tries to engage in these conversations as they minister.
How to pray
Pray for the pandemic to end, but also pray for a lasting solution to the problems that ail Lebanon. Pray that Jesus would bring many Lebanese to Himself. Nuna says, “We cannot rely on a new, let’s say new government or new economic system or new solution of any kind. It’s not that those are just temporary solutions, but people need Him.”
A 2019 protest in Beirut. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)