A British artist is selling prints of legendary Lebanese singer Fairuz as part of a crowdfunding project set up to help families now facing poverty buy essential goods.
Abu Dhabi-based The National reported that the artist is seeking to raise 2,000 British pounds ($2,651) that will be donated to families in Lebanon’s second largest city Tripoli who can no longer buy basic goods.
The number of families that can no longer buy necessities in Lebanon has shot up as the country continues to face its worst economic crisis since the end of the 15-year civil war in 1990.
Tripoli, known for its poverty before the crisis set in, has been hard hit by the deepening economic troubles.
According to 2015 United Nations figures, 57 percent lived at or below the poverty line in Tripoli and 26 percent suffered extreme poverty.
Now, unemployment has gone up, as well as the poverty rate. The prices of basic goods has skyrocketed, and the devaluation of the local currency has seen the value of people’s incomes plummet. The coronavirus has dealt an additional heavy blow.
Funds will be delivered through local NGO Menna w Fina, run by Abdul Rahman Harrouk, and the British artist, Rachel Smith, designed a lino print of the iconic singer Fairuz, the National reported.
After the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut that destroyed some 40 percent of the Lebanese capital, French President Emmanuel Macron has visited the city twice, and on his second visit, he met with the singer.
A month after the blasts, the country is still reeling, and tensions are high. The government headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab stepped down a week after the blast, and diplomat Mustapha Adib has been designated as the new premier.
Per Macron’s recently unveiled reform plan, the country, which has failed to make reforms across various sectors for years, has two weeks to form a cabinet – a process that typically takes years – and has three months to demonstrate that it is making progress to electricity reform and is taking serious steps to crack down on corruption.