As Lebanon’s economy unravels, dollar bills and connections pay off

[Published here September 7, 2021]

Ibrahim al-Masri wipes sweat from his brow as he queues behind two dozen other cars outside a Beirut gas station. It could take hours to replenish his depleted tank – but with no spare cash to bribe the pump attendant, all he can do is wait.

As Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis causes shortages of basic goods including fuel, medicine and even bread, a privileged few are finding ways to beat the queues and rationing by wielding personal connections, or wads of banknotes.

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Water crisis: High & Dry | Executive Magazine

Debris and filth litter the camp’s water supplies

[Published originally here]

In an informal tented settlement just outside of Zahle, dozens of Syrian refugee women and girls crowd around faucets pumping water out of a large plastic tank. The “UN truck,” as they call it, has just filled their settlement’s communal tank with thousands of liters of water, and they rush to collect their share before it’s gone. After filling their buckets and bottles, they return, water sloshing, to their tents to drink, cook and clean.

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