Lebanon

Lebanon: Vigil InSight Situation Report, 13 May 2021

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Lebanon’s political crisis looks set to continue; foreign diplomacy is failing as aid cuts trigger more shortages and violent protests increase.

This document compiled with contributions from aid agencies operating in Lebanon provides an analysis of the current situation in the country and discusses the implications for aid agencies working in the area.

SUMMARY

  • Lebanon has been in a state of political crisis for decades but last year’s catastrophic blast at the Port of Beirut triggered unprecedented protests demanding the removal of political dynasties.

  • French-led diplomacy has failed to break the deadlock or to force the formation of a new government; financial aid has been halted.

  • Israel continues to regard Hezbollah as an existential threat. Drone, air and maritime attacks continue.

  • Political factions, in particular Hezbollah, are stockpiling food, fuel and other basic goods to provide for their communities in anticipation of the state's inability to do so, increasing the prospect of further protest.

  • Recent months have seen an increase in violent crime, with subsidy cuts resulting in people fighting over goods at supermarkets and food distribution points.

  • The main threat to aid access in 2021 remains protests. 706 peaceful and 360 violent protests took place in the first three months of 2021. In 2020, one aid worker was beaten and his personal belongings taken during a protest in Bar Elias town, Beqaa governorate.

  • While most protests are political and unlikely to target aid agencies, some protests focus on food, security or health concerns. Such protests may potentially affect aid agencies if they run such programmes in areas with increasing unrest. In 2020, aid agencies reported unfounded allegations being spread about their programmes.