Lebanon voters hope to pull country back from brink

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Blev medlem: 16 feb 2022, 11:05

Lebanon voters hope to pull country back from brink

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Lebanon voters hope to pull country back from brink


Lebanon is a country in crisis. The UN says about 80% of its people live in poverty. The capital, Beirut, still bears the scars of the devastating port explosion that killed more than 200 people in 2020. The mood is fragile, hurting, desperate.

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On Sunday, the Lebanese people will go to the polls and pass verdict on the politicians that many blame for the state of the country. But can this election deliver the change they need?

Capt Maroun Jreich is scanning the sea through his binoculars, looking for shapes that break the surface. He's searching for bodies floating in the calm, glass-like water. For three weeks, he and his crew have tried to find people who died in the most desperate way.

They had set out from Tripoli in northern Lebanon, hoping for a new life. Instead, they perished in the cold waters, as the small boat they hoped would carry them to a better future sank under the waves.

In a large open square, surrounded by family and friends, Bilal al-Dandashi waits for news. He's hoping Captain Jreich and his crew will find his wife Monira, 12-year-old son Rayan and daughter Layth, aged just four.

Despite his hope, he knows they're almost certainly dead. Amid bright pops of colourful flowers and the sound of children playing, he recalls the careful plans he made.

"My brother, family and friends clubbed together to buy the boat. We refurbished it and bought life jackets and medicine, food, water and diesel," he says.

"During the last days of Ramadan, we decided to set off. Then tragedy hit."