World More blackouts ahead as Lebanon generators starved of fuel
Solar ‘boom’ times as Lebanon’s fossil fuels run dry
With electricity becoming a scarce commodity, thousands of well-off Lebanese rush to alternative energy.Because of the government’s failure to secure heavy fuel oil for power plants, electricity provided by the state-owned Electricité du Liban has dwindled to two hours per day, and has been shut off completely in some areas of the country.
The owners of private generators that provide a vital backup to Lebanon's decrepit power grid warned Wednesday of their own cuts due to lack of fuel as the country's economic crisis deepens.
The national network run by Electricité du Liban is prone to blackouts and in some areas only manages to provide power for two hours a day.
That forces many Lebanese to pay a separate bill for a backup from neighbourhood generators run by private firms.
With the Lebanese economy facing its worst crisis in a generation and the currency in freefall, private suppliers have warned they are struggling to secure enough fuel to keep running.
'Hell on earth': Lebanon unlivable as crisis deepens
It wasn't a late-night craving that brought Ayla to a Beirut cafe but the air-conditioning that let her children, slouched in a sofa next to her, get some proper rest. Lebanon's energy crisis is dragging people to unlikely places in their desperate quest for life's essentials, be it fresh air, electricity, a working fridge or petrol for their cars. "For two days, we have not had a single minute of power at home. The children can no longer sleep," said Ayla, a woman in her 30s."Here, my kids can at least gain a few hours of rest in an air-conditioned space," she told AFP, her 8-year-old daughter curled up on the sofa, while her 5-year-old son slept on her lap.
The crisis is so acute that on Wednesday the lights went out in a building belonging to the foreign ministry, forcing employees to stop work, Lebanese media reported.
"Generator owners in several regions started telling customers on Wednesday that they would not be able to provide electricity for lack of mazout," a widely used petrol derivative, said Abdu Saadeh, head of a syndicate for generator owners.
"We had warned late last week that the stocks would start running dry... and so far we haven't found a solution."
Lebanon has been roiled since autumn 2019 by an economic crisis the World Bank says is likely to rank among the world's worst financial crises since the mid-19th century.
Burns, tears as Beirut medics treat fuel blast victims
Anger and grief collided in a crowded Beirut hospital Sunday as relatives of burn victims from a fuel tanker explosion in north Lebanon waited breathlessly for news of loved ones. Geitawi hospital, which has one of the country's two burn centres, saw an influx of patients injured in the overnight blast that killed at least 28 people in the Akkar district village of Al-Tleil. Dozens of people had flocked to the village to get petrol, a scarce and increasingly costly resource the army was distributing after confiscating it in efforts to combat stockpiling by distributors.
The collapse has sparked outrage at Lebanon's political class, seen as woefully corrupt and unable to tackle the country's many difficulties.
Officials have blamed the current fuel shortages on stockpiling by traders and a surge of fuel smuggling into Syria.
Several people have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling in recent weeks, according to the police.
The central bank has set up a mechanism to subsidise fuels by up to 85 percent, but fuel importers have accused it of failing to implement the programme.
The head of public internet provider Ogero has warned that electricity cuts could also threaten Lebanon's access to the web.
Lebanon gets IMF funding injection. How much will it help? .
The new government has not yet said how it will use the desperately needed funds.SDRs are an asset that only exists within the IMF, but they can be exchanged for freely usable hard currencies like the US dollar – providing a much-needed liquidity boost for cash-strapped member states.