Lebanon is within the midst of one of many deepest depressions in fashionable historical past in accordance to the World Bank. Hyperinflation has seen the Lebanese pound lose greater than 90 % of its worth in lower than two years and greater than half of the inhabitants has sunk into poverty.
The capital Beirut is now the third-most costly metropolis on the planet, in accordance to the 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey.
Amid this financial meltdown, the nation’s folks and establishments have been pressured to improvise new and unconventional methods of producing further earnings. The struggling military has began providing helicopter excursions to tourists in a bid to enhance morale and raise must-needed cash for upkeep.
Both tourists and Lebanese residents can join 15-minute rides on the military’s web site, billed as a manner to see “Lebanon … from above”. Tours on the R44 Robinson “Raven” helicopters – often reserved for scholar pilots of their first 12 months of coaching – depart from each Rayak and Amchit airbases, and provide scenic views.
It is especially telling that the military has resorted to moonlighting as tour guides, provided that the military has underpinned Lebanon’s stability because the finish of the civil battle in 1990. Despite vital US military help, the financial disaster has made it laborious for the military to keep its price range for tools, upkeep and provides.
Last month, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun warned that the financial disaster – partly brought on by a long time of presidency corruption and profligacy – would quickly lead to the breakdown of all state establishments, together with the military.
Lebanon was with out a functioning authorities for 13 months following the huge explosion at Beirut’s port in August 2020 – which killed greater than 200 folks and destroyed giant swathes of the town – till a brand new cupboard was lastly shaped final week.
Foreign foreign money cash reserves have plummeted, inflicting gas, electrical energy and drugs shortages.
In the meantime, the Lebanese military is aiming for about 1,000 hours of leisure flights this 12 months. Each experience will value $150, that means the programme might internet the military $300,000 by the tip of the 12 months.
A Lebanese soldier now earns simply $90 a month – down from virtually $850 earlier than the disaster.