Skyrocketing Bread Prices Torment Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

For this Ramadan, the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are starving. Bread, which is the staple food of the locals and migrants there, has become unaffordable due to its growing price.

Syrian refugees
Illustration. Syrian refugees in Lebanon suffer due to rising bread prices. (Special document)

ACTNews, LEBANON – Wheat refers to a category of carbohydrate-rich cereal grains. This one plant has long been stapled sustenance for humans. People use wheat to make a variety of foods, including bread.

Bread is a staple food in Lebanon. Bread is highly satisfying due to its high carbohydrate content, and it is cheap. Without a doubt, the refugees there eat bread as their primary source of nutrition.

Lebanon needs around 40,000-50,000 tons of wheat to meet the local market needs. The Arab country imports around 60% of its wheat needs from Ukraine and Russia, which launched a war on its neighbor in February. 

Lebanon’s bakery union warned of a bread crisis in the Arab country as several wheat mills halted operation due to lack of funding. In a statement, the Bakeries Syndicate said bread bakeries face a shortage of wheat flour in several Lebanese areas.

“Many bakeries have stopped making bread, while others have limited quantities of wheat flour that are sufficient for only one day,” it added.

This issue has impacted not only Lebanese citizens but also Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In the 10,452-square-kilometer country, around 1.5 million Syrian refugees live in poverty. In Ramadan, the refugees are facing famine due to soaring bread prices.

Food prices had previously seen a wave of price hikes before this crisis. For example, rice. A kilo of rice that used to cost no more than 3,000 Lebanese pounds (approximately USD 2) has suddenly risen to 8,000 Lebanese pounds (USD 5).

"Syrian refugees are hoping for support from donors during Ramadan. For many years, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), a global humanitarian organization, has been assisting Syrian refugees in Lebanon. ACT team will provide Food packages for the refugees throughout Ramadan, Insha Allah. Thanks to the generosity of Generous Friends through ACT," Firdaus Guritno of ACT's Global Humanity Network team said Friday (4/15/2022).

Since late 2019, Lebanon has been grappling with a severe economic crisis, including massive currency depreciation, and fuel and medical shortages. The Lebanese currency has lost 90% of its value, eroding people’s ability to access staple goods, including food, water, healthcare, and education. Meantime, widespread power outages are regular due to fuel shortages. []