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$250 million of humanitarian aid for refugees lost its value in Lebanese banks

The Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted an investigation into the aid intended for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The investigation found that at least $250 million of aid lost its value to banks that sell local currency at unreasonable prices.

Reuters described the heavy losses of aid as a “thunderbolt” in an internal document, which was issued by the United Nations and confirmed by multiple sources, at a time when Lebanon is grappling with the worst economic crisis ever, with half of the population living below the poverty line.

The unfavorable exchange rates offered by Lebanese banks affected Syrian refugees, Palestinians and poor Lebanese in particular, as they have much less ability to purchase, through the cash assistance they receive from the United Nations.

Whereas, before the economic crisis, refugees and poor Lebanese received monthly compensation of 27 US dollars, equivalent to about 40,500 Lebanese pounds, from the World Food Program.

It is worth noting that more than one million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon, nine out of ten of them live in extreme poverty, according to United Nations data.

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