BEIRUT: Amid all the ongoing challenges in Lebanon, ranging from skyrocketing government debt, a faltering economy, banking dysfunction, rapid inflation, and the pandemic, it seems for many American expatriates in the Levant, it’s still a wonderful life compared with returning to the United States, CNN reported this week.
In the recent US embassy organized evacuation from Beirut using a chartered Qatar airways flight, less than 100 Americans availed themselves of the opportunity.
Those interviewed cited the runaway coronavirus contagion in the US compared to Lebanon, their lack of American health insurance, and that they were employed and working in Lebanon, as among their reasons to stay put in the land of the Cedars.
And perhaps in the greatest compliment of all some said they simply liked living in Lebanon.
Beirut-based freelance journalist Abby Sewell told CNN Beirut correspondent Tamara Qiblawi that she never considered taking the US embassy's offer.
"From everything I'm reading, the situation is worse in the US, in terms of the number of cases, prevention measures or lack thereof, and how overburdened the health system is," she said
"Also, since I've been living overseas for years, I don't have health insurance in the US now, so if I did go back and then got sick, I would be looking at paying thousands of dollars out of pocket."
Currently the US reports 469,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 17,000 deaths.
In another interview with CNN, American humanitarian consultant, Carly Fuglei opted to stay in Lebanon, noting "I made that decision for a combination of personal reasons and calculations about the virus that we're all making,"
"I think that I am probably safer here," the 28-year-old Fuglei added.
Planning on a longer stay, she has begun furnishing her rooftop terrace, she told CNN.
In a widespread email from the Embassy to US citizens in Lebanon, the US government posted the availability of a $2,500 charter flight back to the US.
On April 5 the flight left with 95 passengers.
Another American cited by CNN was Daryn Howland who is busy with her work as a consultant and told CNN, "My plan is to stay here for the indefinite future.”
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