Lebanon experienced a twenty-four-hour power outage.
Beyond fuel and energy shortages, Lebanon is witnessing hyperinflation, food shortages, and an overwhelmed hospital system.
Walid Fayyad — minister of Lebanon’s government-run electricity company — explained that the temporary closure of the country’s two main power stations had “directly affected the stability of the power network and led to its complete outage, with no possibility of resuming operations in the meantime.” Power returned on the evening of October 10 after the nation’s army provided fuel from its reserves.
The New York Times reports:
Even so, the emergency supplies are expected to last only a few days. Mr. Fayyad said that Lebanon’s central bank had freed up $100 million to be used to import fuel, which would help raise electricity generation by the end of the month.
The outage on Saturday had little immediate effect on the lives of most Lebanese, who have grown accustomed to blackouts and fuel shortages as the country suffers one of the gravest economic crises in recent history. The government has struggled to import fuel as the national currency has shed 90 percent of its value in the past two years. Prices for many goods have tripled.
Earlier this year, the World Bank stated that the small Middle Eastern nation is experiencing one of the planet’s three worst economic depressions since the nineteenth century. Lebanon’s GDP has dropped from $55 billion in 2018 to an estimated $33 billion in 2020, with GDP per capita falling by 40%.
“This illustrates the magnitude of the economic depression that the country is enduring, with sadly no clear turning point on the horizon, given the disastrous deliberate policy inaction,” said the organization. “The social impact of the crisis, which is already dire, could rapidly become catastrophic; more than half the population is likely below the national poverty line. Lebanon, with a history of civil war and conflicts, faces realistic threats to its already fragile social peace.”
A massive explosion in Beirut last year accelerated Lebanon’s economic decline and the deterioration of its energy grid. One hundred citizens passed away from the blast, and over 4,000 were injured. 300,000 people were left homeless after dozens of buildings sustained severe damage.
The Wall Street Journal reports that restaurant owners now time their hours to the schedule of electricity from private generators due to the frequency of power outages. Thefts in Lebanon have risen by 62%.
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