In a surreal scene that points to the severe crisis hitting Lebanon, a number of citizens gathered in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beirut to protest the disruption of paperwork as the lack of diesel fuel led to a power cut on Wednesday.
The depletion of diesel fuel from petrol stations, as well as the tanks of the owners of private electricity generators, is a major problem that threatens to take the country into darkness, after electricity rationing in most regions amounted to about 22 hours per day.
“Diesel tanks are either empty or are about to run down, which would force owners of power generators to turn them off completely. This has already been seen in more than one area,” the head of the association of private generators owners, Abdo Saadeh, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Describing the situation as “catastrophic”, he said: “The state asks us to cover its shortcomings by providing citizens with electricity, but at the same time it withholds diesel fuel... How do we operate our generators?”
The representative of fuel distributors, Fadi Abu Shakra, noted that the stocks would start running dry.
Abu Shakra emphasized that an urgent solution was needed, whether by lifting or rationalizing state subsidies on fuel, or fixing its price on the exchange rate of LBP 3,900 against the US dollar.
Citizens flocked to buy diesel fuel to store it for the winter, after the Minister of Energy explicitly announced last week a price hike.
Several roads across the country were blocked by citizens on Wednesday in protest against the shortage of diesel and gasoline.
In a statement, the security forces said they have seized large quantities of subsidized diesel and gasoline intended for sale and smuggling, and the arrest of three people involved in the north of the country.