Banks raids increase as Lebanon suffers economic woes
Lebanon is in a brutal economic crisis, with nearly 80 percent of the population struggling to pay for food and medicine.
This calamity has been dragging on for years. Back in 2019, banks restricted withdrawals of dollars, when the value of the Lebanese pound plunged and inflation surged.
Now after a series of desperate raids by customers demanding access to their frozen savings, banks will close next week for 72-hours.
In one incident, a woman held staff hostage at a Beirut bank saying she needed to withdraw savings to pay for her sister's cancer medication. Elsewhere, a man threatened tellers at a bank in Ghaziyeh with a firearm demanding his savings.
Crisis meeting to discuss the situation
With similar raids being reported across the country, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi called for a crisis meeting to discuss the situation.
Unsurprisingly, the raids have been widely seen as acts of desperation by people anxious to settle bills and survive.
Lebanon’s political and economic crisis has had a devastating effect on the Mediterranean nation. Inflation has soared and electric cuts are common, as the country remains desperately short of fuel. Some are experiencing long power cuts, whilst hospitals have cut back crucial services and drivers queue for hours for gasoline.
The already difficult situation was compounded by a massive blast on 4 August 2020 which wiped out Beirut port and the surrounding area.
The blast, caused by incorrectly stored ammonium nitrate, killed over 200 people and left billions of dollars of damage.
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