Fawziyya, 64, suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, and needs a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, but they are often out of reach for her and her family. One of his sons works in a store where he earns 10,000 Lebanese pounds a day, less than a US dollar at today’s informal exchange rate. Her other son is unemployed. The three live together in an unfinished house that they cannot afford to finish.
For the past two years, she has visited the Médecins Sans Frontières / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in the nearby town of Hermel for regular check-ups and to collect the medicines and insulin she needs.
After the explosion
Fawziyya and her family are among the 50 percent of Lebanese currently living in extreme poverty. Since 2019, this small country on the eastern Mediterranean coast has been hit hard by an economic crisis, rising inflation, political instability and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this unstable climate, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history rocked the capital Beirut on August 4, 2020.
The huge explosion, centered in the port of Beirut, had devastating effects: nearly 200 people were killed, more than 6,000 were injured and tens of thousands lost their homes. It also destroyed many public facilities, including hospitals, and severely damaged the central warehouse of the health authority, disrupting access to medicines, especially for the elderly and chronically ill patients.