The COVID 19 pandemic, the enormous human and material damage caused by the explosion in the port of Beirut in 2020 and the serious economic, political and social crisis that Lebanon has been experiencing for several years are having a very strong impact on the entire population. The state is no longer able to offer the minimum to the Lebanese in terms of access to electricity and water, health and education.
"Today, 85% of the population lives in poverty. The collapse of the financial system no longer allows citizens to access their money in the bank. The Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value. The prices of food, medicine and petrol are rising alarmingly, while the value of salaries, in Lebanese pounds, is falling."
Sister Anne Sauvé and Sister Elisabeth Noirot respectively manage two hospitals: the Sacred Heart Hospital, the first hospital founded in Lebanon in Beirut by the Daughters of Charity in 1848, and the Bhannes Centre, a sanatorium created in the mountains in 1927 and then transformed into a hospital at the beginning of the civil war in 1977.
"In Lebanon, everything is in shambles. We are in a state of survival in the hospitals we run. The population receives one to two hours of electricity a day. Our priority is to provide healthy food for our patients, families and neighbours." Sister Anne Sauvé and Sister Elisabeth Noirot
To illustrate the situation, here is a report from the television channel Arte dated 14 July 2022
« In Bhannes, we are settled on 22Ha of land of which about ten are exploitable! However, half of the fruit trees are too old and the land is not cultivated enough to produce the most common vegetables and feed the patients.
On the site of the old vineyard a photovoltaic system has been installed, but there is still a large area that I want to use for planting beans. We also have a farm with 45 head of cattle and about 100 chickens.
Thanks to this farm, we produce milk for internal consumption and sell it as well as cheese, yoghurt and cottage cheese to the surrounding population in pure quality and with a much lower price than in the supermarkets! For this project we need to get the necessary equipment to work the land and prune the trees. Then we would have to renew the orchards and buy seeds for the vegetable garden." Sister Elisabeth
"Here at the Sacred Heart Hospital, we have about 3,000 square metres of land at our disposal. Planting and growing vegetables, cereals, pulses and fruit trees will allow us to reduce food insecurity and help families feed their children. We have done a test planting of cabbage and beetroot, which has been quite convincing.
Before the economic crisis, a case of beans of about 5 kgs cost $20 (equivalent to 30,000 Lebanese pounds). Today, those same 5 kgs still cost $20, but the equivalent value is about 800,000 Lebanese pounds!" Sister Anne Sauvé
The priority is to acquire the necessary equipment for the work and exploitation of the land and then to start planting the trees and sowing in order to be able to harvest next May.
The hospitals will hire men to follow the agricultural work on a daily basis.
At Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur, 45,000 patients are hospitalised or treated at home each year, regardless of their origins, religious beliefs or social situations.
The centre in Bhannes supports 360 households through its employees serving 215 beds.
Thanks to your help, hundreds of Lebanese will see their living conditions improve.
With them, thanks to you!