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Lebanon news

UN aids Lebanon with 50,000 tonnes of wheat to avoid food crisis

In the aftermath of the explosion at Beirut's port, the UN-affiliated World Food Programme (WFP) will ship 50,000 tonnes of wheat, 3-months worth, to Lebanon.

A picture shows the destruction at Beirut's port on August 11, 2020 following a huge chemical explosion that devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

The World Food Programme (WFP), a branch of the United Nations, is set to ship Lebanon 50,000 tonnes of wheat to avoid a potential food crisis that could take place following last Tuesday's explosion at Beirut's port, which has killed 171 people (although some reports put the death toll at over 200), injured hundreds, and caused the destruction of many of the grain silos that supply much of Lebanon's wheat.

Three months worth of wheat for Lebanon

The 50,000 tonnes of wheat flour should be enough to meet the needs of the country for three months, according what was said by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the UN on Tuesday, before adding that shipments will be delivered to bakeries and millers to "ensure there is no food shortage". The first batch of the shipment, containing 17,500 tonnes is expected to arrive in 10 days.

Follow live coverage of the aftermath of the explosion

Last Tuesday's blast - the result of 2,750 tonnes of badly stored ammonium nitrate exploding - caused the destruction of major grain silos in Beirut’s port. The devastating explosion has been a major strike to a country that was already economically struggling. Fears of food scarcity have begun to emerge across the country since the explosion, which left Lebanon with flour reserves estimated at only lasting for six weeks.

Lebanon's grain silos 'destroyed'

The country's, “grain silos have been mostly destroyed, causing fears of skyrocketing food prices,” the WFP noted.

Furthermore, WFP is planning on expanding its cash assistance program in Lebanon by almost ten times in addition to increasing the value of its food cards in the country by 73%. The WFP provides assistance to 107,000 Lebanese with its e-cards programme, debit cards loaded with cash to buy food.

The program also started sending mobile-storage units for grain, to replace the destroyed silos until they are repaired, with the first plane having landed on Saturday while two more are expected to arrive soon.


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