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Lebanon’s Ministry of Social Affairs: We Are Working to Avoid Disaster

Lebanon’s Ministry of Social Affairs: We Are Working to Avoid Disaster

Tuesday, 7 April, 2020 - 10:00
Hassan Zeitar, 39, eats with his family inside his home during a countrywide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus, in Choueifat, Lebanon March 30, 2020. (Reuters)
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat

The Lebanese ministries of Interior and Social Affairs are working to determine the families that will benefit from the financial aid recently approved by the government, which was set at LBP 400,000 (about $265) per family, to be distributed by the army.

“The state is deploying all efforts to avoid a social explosion; but like many other countries, we may reach an economic and social collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the world, if the Lebanese do not adhere to the instructions of the government and the concerned ministries,” Minister of Social Affairs Ramzi Mousharrafieh told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The state is employing all of its capacities, despite all the weaknesses, to face the virus and its repercussions,” he added.

Mousharrafieh explained that it was difficult to determine the number of families who have fallen below the poverty line. He noted that municipalities were filling out forms for families requesting to be included in the lists and communicating them to the ministry over the phone.

Around 44,000-47,000 families registered in a dedicated program will benefit from this aid, along with other families. The total number will reach 150,000 according to the minister.

He added that the families will include the elderly and people with special needs and others who were staying in accredited social institutions, who are applying isolation measures upon the request of the Ministry of Public Health.

In addition to the aid program, Mousharrafieh is closely following up on the conditions of Palestinian refugees and displaced Syrians to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities.

He affirmed that, until now, no cases were recorded among refugees and displaced persons, pointing out that there were two suspected cases among the displaced Syrians, but the test results came negative.

The minister pointed out that international bodies, including the UNHCR, were carrying out awareness campaigns, distributing sterilization and cleaning materials, and sending specialists to inspect the camps.

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