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by Cynthia Griffiths

Through the World Council of Churches’ programming, the NCC is in regular contact with the Middle East Council of Churches. This week NCC staff learned firsthand about the dire situation in Lebanon, particularly in Beirut where the explosion at the port last August leveled entire neighborhoods of the city. The economic crisis is extreme. There is no food, no medicines, no supplies for surgery, no supplies for babies, and no fuel for cars to get to work. With regular power outages, connections with the outside world are difficult and the country is on the verge of a total failure of its electrical system.

In this week’s newsletter, the Middle East Council of Churches shared that Lebanon is “still in the ‘deliberate depression’ phase whereby there is no signs of relief. Lebanon, the heart of the Middle East, is sinking and many of its rulers seem content to watch such a spectacle. If international actors do not intervene on a deeper and impartial scale, Lebanon sinking deeper into its problems will have profound socioeconomic and security effects on the whole region.”

A recent New York Times article described the situation in Lebanon as the worst financial crisis since the mid-1800’s and reported that the value of their currency has plummeted by 90%. Meanwhile, the World Bank has called Lebanon’s crisis “one of worst depressions of modern history as half of population lives in poverty.”

As limited media attention has been given to this crisis, US churches can fill the void by creating awareness of the situation. We pray that world leaders will bring relief to the people of Lebanon so that their intense suffering is alleviated.