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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Lebanon PM warns of major food crisis amid virus

AP , Thursday 21 May 2020
Lebanon
People shop at a supermarket as they begin to stock up on provisions, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Lebanese rushed to food stores to stock up on vegetables and basic items, hours before the government was to reinstate a four-day nationwide lockdown on Wednesday, following a spike in reported coronavirus cases (Photo: AP)
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Lebanon's prime minister is warning of a major food crisis in the Mediterranean country which is facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post late Wednesday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab also warns of eventual ``starvation'' in the Middle East that he says may spark a new migration flow to Europe.

He urges the United States and the European Union to establish a dedicated emergency fund to help the conflict-prone region.

Lebanon, one of the most indebted nations in the world, defaulted for the first time in March on its sovereign debt. Anti-government protests that erupted in October over widespread corruption subsided during a nationwide lockdown since mid-March to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, but sporadic protests continue.

Diab's government is seeking a rescue program from the International Monetary Fund while grappling to deal with the financial crisis that saw the local currency crash, people's savings devastated and prices and inflation soar in the past few weeks.

In a stark warning, Diab says many Lebanese may soon find it difficult to afford even bread.

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