Lebanon’s PM asks UN for food aid

Lebanese Pita bread. Lebanon imports 60 % of its needs from Ukraine . The Lebanese Silo was destroyed in the Beirut Port blast and all the wheat is now stored at the flour mills , Several countries in the Middle East will be badly affected because of their inability to import wheat from Ukraine and Russia because of the war . Lebanon is close to reaching an agreement with the World Bank in which the international agency would give the crisis-hit country a $150 million loan for food security and to stabilize bread prices for the next six months,
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati is shown on Tuesday with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed (NNA)

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked on Tuesday UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed to assist Lebanon in facing food insecurity challenges as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The PM’s request came during a meeting with Mohammed at the Grand Serail in the presence of UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon Najat Rochdi and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCWA Rola Dashti. 

“Mikati asked Mohammed for supporting Lebanon on food security in the face of the multiple challenges resulting from the presence of huge numbers of displaced Syrians in the country,” read a statement from the PM’s office.

During the meeting, Mikati also requested assistance in the recovery of funds transferred abroad and the fight against corruption.

The PM’s demand to support Lebanon comes as a food security crisis looms in the horizon feel of the Russian war on Ukraine and the difficulty in importing goods, especially wheat. 

Several officials have warned that Lebanon has wheat reserves sufficient to cover only one month. 

Lebanon imports 60% of its wheat from Ukraine .

The main silo at Beirut Port was completely destroyed in the devastating explosions that rocked Lebanon on Aug 4, 2020 as result of the illegal storage of 2750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate at the port area . The silo protected the capital . If it wasn’t for the silo most of Beirut would have been leveled by the explosion. Only about a month’s worth of wheat can now be stored at a time in mills as a result of the blast that destroyed the country’s port, shredded its grain silos , killed over 218 people, injured about 7000 people and left 300, 000 homeless . The Iran backed Hezbollah militant group has been for months trying to get Judge Tarek Bitar who is investigating the blast fired , reportedly because it is concerned about exposing its role in supplying the Syrian government with the explosive chemical for use in its barrel bombs . As Lebanon runs out of wheat Hezbollah could be blamed for starving the Lebanese people for the sake of supplying Syria with the explosive chemical to kill more Syrian civilians. AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Food crisis worldwide

 Sanctioned Russian fertilizer and coal tycoon, Andrey Melnichenko, has warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will lead to a world food crisis and called for the war to end.

“The events in Ukraine are truly tragic. We urgently need peace. As Russian by nationality, Belarusian by birth, and Ukrainian by blood, I feel great pain and disbelief witnessing the brotherly peoples are fighting and dying,” Melnichenko said in comments sent by his spokesperson to Insider.

“One of the victims of this crisis will be agriculture and food,” Melnichenko also said, adding that the war has “already led to soaring prices in fertilisers which are no longer affordable to farmers.”

Asharq Al-Awsat