Lebanese army receives 22 tonnes of food from Morocco

Gift from King Mohammed VI comes as the Lebanese army struggles to feed its soldiers

The Army Command - Directorate of Orientation issued the following statement: “Two planes arrived this morning at Rafic Hariri International Airport carrying 22 tons of foodstuffs provided as a gift from His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the army, among the eight planes that will arrive in succession during the coming days. A total of 90 tons were transported. During the reception of the royal donation, the representative of the Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun expressed his sincere thanks to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his valuable initiative, wishing peace and reassurance to the brotherly Moroccan people, and to the Kingdom of Morocco continued prosperity and progress.
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Two Moroccan planes landed at Beirut’s international airport carrying 22 tonnes of food as a gift to  Lebanese soldiers, said the army said on Saturday.

Six more planes are scheduled to arrive in the coming days, bringing a total of 90 tonnes of food as a gift from Morocco's King Mohammed VI, according to a Lebanese army statement published by the state-run National News Agency.

Lebanon’s army commander Gen Joseph Aoun thanked King Mohammed VI “for his valuable initiative”, it said.

In February, the army received food parcels including items such as rice, oil and pasta from France valued at $60,000. Shortly after, Turkey also donated food worth $200,000.

The Lebanese army scrapped meat from soldiers’ meals in June because of the increase in food prices caused by the country’s worst-ever economic crisis.

Lebanon depends on imports to feed itself, and the crash of the local currency in the past year and a half has triggered hyper-inflation.

The latest government figures show that the price of food increased by 417 per cent in the past year.

In parallel, soldiers’ monthly wages went from being worth on average $866 a month to just over $100.

Early in March, Gen Aoun said in a speech that soldiers were going hungry. “Where are we going? What do you intend to do? We have warned, more than once, about the seriousness of the situation and the possibility of a social explosion,” he said, addressing Lebanon’s politicians.

They have been bickering for the past eight months over the formation of a new Cabinet since prime minister Hassan Diab resigned over the Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people.

US and French officials have repeatedly hinted at sanctions against Lebanese leaders over their failure to act in the face of the country's growing crisis.