Dead in their own country: Lebanese migrate to Europe for better prospects

Lebanon

Lebanon LebanonThe road treading might be full of dangers, but the hope to escape daily humiliating life in own country is pushing people from Lebanon to join scores of migrants from Middle East to reach Europe. Ziad Hilweh knew the risks involved as he decided to reach Europe with his wife and three kids. Yet he took the plunge as the life in Lebanon was synonymous to death.

Lebanon is witnessing a gory economic meltdown. The currency crash in last two years has caused the Lebanese pound lose more than 90 per cent of its value. The common man in country is now at brink of devastation as their salary is of no real value and they struggle to meet their ends meet. But 22 year old Hilweh’s all hopes for a better future for his family were crushed last month when their boat enroute Italy collapsed in Mediterranean Sea, just few hours starting off from Tripoli’s port. They were towed back to the shore by country’s navy along with other people on the vessel.

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It was not long before that Lebanon hosted Syrian refugees. But now, scraping as the country is with its own chaos, it is a departure point for hundreds of Lebanese who are trying to reach European shores. The driving force is annihilating economic crisis in Lebanon that has tossed about two thirds of its population into poverty since 2019. Now, in a stark shift in usual migrant demographics, Lebanese have joined the Sudanese, Iraqis, Afghans and other Middle Eastern nations who are leaving the homelands in hopes of better prospects.

Since 2020, there has been a sharp increase in number of Lebanese departures through sea, noted Lisa Abou Khaled, spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency. According to data by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), between January and November more than 1,570 people took the plunge or attempted to from Lebanon to Cyprus largely. “It is evident that these are desperate journeys undertaken by people who see no way of survival in Lebanon,” said Abou Khaled.

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