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US to give $80.5 million to Lebanon amid economic crisis


In order to provide food assistance and solar-powered water pumping stations in the crisis-stricken country of Lebanon, the United States announced on Wednesday that it would donate $80.5 million in aid.

In order to travel to Egypt for the COP27 U.N. climate conference, USAID Administrator Samantha Power made the announcement while in Lebanon.

In order to secure a $3 billion aid package from the International Monetary Fund, Power will meet with Lebanese political leaders to urge them to address the country’s political impasse and implement a number of political and economic reforms.

The visit takes place as Lebanon experiences its worst financial and economic crisis in modern times. President Michel Aoun’s six-year term came to an end on October 31 without a successor being chosen.

Power opted not to comment on whether receiving assistance from the United States would depend on Lebanon taking these actions.

“We are not focused on what happens if those reforms don’t happen. The reforms have to happen,” she told The Associated Press.

The prospect of an IMF deal “should be enough to end the infighting and bickering and do what is needed for the sake of the country,” Power said.

Up until now, USAID has given Lebanon about $260 million in 2022. On Wednesday, Power announced an additional $72 million as part of a $2 billion global food security initiative for food assistance to approximately 650,000 people over the course of five months.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lebanon, which depends heavily on imported food and historically imports the majority of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, has experienced an increase in concerns about its ability to eat.

Power also disclosed $8.5 million to support 22 new pumping stations powered by solar energy. The crippling electricity crisis that Lebanon has been experiencing has also resulted in water shortages because pumping stations lack power.

The public water supply shortages are causing Lebanon’s first cholera outbreak in thirty years. The majority of Lebanese now rely on water that is trucked in by private suppliers; this water is frequently not safety-tested.

(With inputs from AP)

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