In this file photo taken on July 1, 2020 freshly-baked bread moves along a production line out of an oven at an automated bakery in Lebanon's capital Beirut. Image Credit: AFP

Beirut: The World Food Programme has agreed to allocate $5.4 billion in aid for Lebanon over the next three years, Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said, as the country’s economic crisis keeps millions in poverty.

Mikati said half of the aid would go to Lebanese and half to Syrian refugees, more than 1 million of whom live in Lebanon according to government estimates. Previously, 70% of the aid went to Syrian refugees and 30% to Lebanese, he said.

The WFP’s Lebanon office could not immediately be reached for comment.

WFP Representative and Country Director in Lebanon Abdallah Alwardat met with Mikati on Monday and said after the meeting that the aid would include in-kind help and cash assistance, according to a statement from Mikati’s office.

The United Nations agency would provide 1 million refugees and 1 million Lebanese with cash assistance in the country of 6 million, he said.

Formerly a middle-income country, Lebanon is now gripped by a crisis that the World Bank has deemed one of the worst since 1850 - a result of decades of corruption and economic mismanagement that culminated in a 2019 financial meltdown.