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Jessica Kahawaty Speaks Out on Lebanon’s Deepening Economic Crisis

Jessia Kahawaty

Jessia Kahawaty. Photo: Ahmed Tarek El Sayed

Taking to social media in a series of Instagram stories targeted toward her one million followers, Australian-Lebanese model and philanthropist Jessica Kahawaty highlighted the serious implications of the coronavirus pandemic on Lebanon‘s fragile economy. Commenting particularly on the issue of hyperinflation, Kahawaty expressed concern that the country could be heading into a widespread famine without the help of charities and donations.

“For non-Lebanese to understand the severity of what’s happening in Lebanon: $100 used to give you 150,000 Lebanese Liras,” she began. “Due to the deteriorating state of the country, $100 [now] gives you 900,000 Lebanese Liras. If you’re living and working in Lebanon and your salary a year ago was 4.5 million Liras per month, today that salary is worth $450.” Highlighting the tangible implications on Lebanese communities, particularly within the context of rising food costs and local food scarcity, Kahawaty continued, “severe inflation is reflecting an increase in prices in the supermarkets.” Going on to list a number of NGOs and charities aiming to provide assistance to Lebanese families, she added “if you know of more organizations, please DM me so I can share.”

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Also sharing images from a previous photoshoot, the 31-year old highlighted the work of her talented team of Lebanese photographers, stylists and makeup artists. “It pains me that this shoot was done by one of the most talented teams of Lebanese creatives, whose dreams are being shattered day-by-day along with the rest of the country due to the careless behavior of the leaders,” she wrote alongside the images.

“Lebanon is known to produce such incredible talent, especially in the fashion industry. It devastated me knowing that as soon as they somewhat had their feet on the ground, something close to what our parents experienced may happen again. From hyperinflation to the imminent risk of a civil war, once again the country and people are taken back many steps and many generations,” Kahawaty concluded.

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