Statement by WFP Deputy Executive Director on his visit to Lebanon

BEIRUT – I have just concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon where I visited World Food Programme (WFP) operations and got first-hand insights and accounts of the challenges faced by vulnerable communities amidst the country’s protracted economic crisis and escalating regional tensions.

During my two days here, I had the chance to engage with people benefitting from WFP programmes including the Government-led National Poverty Targeting Programme. Their stories reflected the harsh realities of navigating economic hardships and highlighted the critical role of social safety nets in Lebanon.

Part of this visit was a joint mission with my colleague, World Bank’s Managing Director, Anna Bjerde, bringing to the fore the importance of the partnership between WFP and the World Bank. We visited a social development centre where we engaged with the unsung heroes of the communities – social workers, as well as the people benefitting from Government-led social safety nets which WFP has been supporting. The dedication of the social workers in supporting vulnerable communities, despite deteriorating working conditions, is truly commendable.

Visiting a public school which is part of the school meals programme was especially eye-opening. Meeting mothers working in school kitchens to provide nutritious meals to schoolchildren illustrated the central role these meals play to ensure food security for children.

A productive meeting with the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Abbas El Halabi, emphasized the significance of the school meals programme as a vital safety net for 100,000 schoolchildren – a programme which used to reach 10,000 children just eight years ago. Discussions reaffirmed the programme’s role in fostering local linkages and bolstering food security. WFP continues to expand this critical programme recognizing its dual benefits in providing nutrition for children and also alleviating part of the financial burden on families.

A visit to a Syrian refugee household demonstrated how multiple crises in the country continue to exacerbate vulnerabilities of people living in Lebanon.

I ended my visit at the largest WFP warehouse in the country. Being in the warehouse amidst towering shelves of food parcels was a reminder of the food- assistance operation we are running in a country facing one of the highest food price inflation rates in the world. Preparedness and readiness are paramount here given the regional context.

Today, 24 percent of people in Lebanon are food insecure. Just hours away by road from Beirut, on the southern border and beyond, hostilities continue to escalate displacing over 92,000 people from their homes and destroying livelihoods affecting further those who cannot relocate.

WFP, despite dwindling resources, was among the first to respond providing food and cash assistance to affected families. We have assisted an additional 158,000 people in affected areas since October 2023 notably by also leveraging the existing government-led social safety nets.

In addition to expanding lifesaving assistance in Lebanon over the past few years, WFP also continues advocating for support towards addressing root causes of food insecurity and institutional capacity strengthening.

Along with our donors and partners, last year WFP in Lebanon reached the highest number of people – 2.5 million – since the beginning of its operation in the country. Sustained and flexible donor support is as critical as ever so that people here continue to have access to vital assistance.


For more information please contact (email address:

Rasha Abou Dargham, WFP Lebanon Tel: +961 71 814 623

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