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According to emergency workers, Lebanon’s tanker explosion has killed at least 20 people and injured dozens of others. The country was paralyzed by power shortages and armed forces were sent to raid gas stations that were said to be hoarding gasoline.
The Lebanese Red Cross, a volunteer that provides most of the country’s ambulance services, said Sunday morning that at least 79 people were injured in the explosion in the remote northern Akha region on the border with Syria.
This event is the biggest disaster since the devastating disaster in this crisis-ravaged country. Beirut Port Explosion last year.
The Lebanese state-run news agency said that the exact cause of the tanker explosion is unclear, but it happened near the illegally stored fuel that local residents discovered earlier that afternoon.
The agency added that the Lebanese Armed Forces had arrived to help distribute the fuel, but there was a “stamped incident” after the soldiers left.
The Lebanese border area is known for its illegal trade with war-torn Syria, which has suffered from a fuel shortage for more than a year. As Lebanon plunged into its own oil crisis, the Self-Defense Forces have begun to actively try to stop trafficking, and at the same time they deployed national security forces on Saturday to seize and distribute hoarded fuel.
Lebanon’s multi-level financial, economic and Political crisis It has reached its peak in the past few days. On Wednesday, the central bank announced a unilateral decision to stop fuel subsidies, which plunged the country into new chaos.
“This is catastrophic,” said Diana Menhem, managing director of Kulluna Irada, a lobbying group that supports reform. “To make matters worse, there is no mechanism in place… She added to help people cope with the “inflationary pressures that may be caused by new market interest rates and fuel prices.” The United Nations and the World Bank estimate that more than half of Lebanon’s people live in poverty. Below rate.
The Bank of Libya has been exhausting its remaining reserves because it maintains financing for the import of necessities such as fuel and medicines at an official interest rate of 1,500 pounds per dollar.
Since the beginning of the economic crisis in October 2019, BdL’s foreign exchange reserves have been halved to 15 billion U.S. dollars, and the black market transaction price has soared to 20,000 pounds per U.S. dollar, depreciating more than 90%, resulting in Hyperinflation.
As the government and the central bank set prices for basic commodities, gas stations across the country were closed on Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday, drivers lined up as they tried to fill up their gas tanks.
Severe shortage of diesel Already disabled Parallel private power system, Lebanese rely on a local generator network to make up for the shortage of power provided by the state. In some areas of Beirut, daily electricity service is reduced to only a few minutes.
BdL defended its decision on fuel subsidies on Thursday, saying it had warned the government that it would not be able to maintain the subsidized exchange rate for a year. The central bank claimed to have provided 800 million US dollars “to cover the cost of fuel in the past month” and added that most of the supplies purchased “still disappear from the market and are sold at a price that exceeds its value”, which refers to Smuggling and hoarding.
The Lebanese Petroleum Authority said on Saturday that BdL and the Ministry of Energy have agreed to set a financing rate of 3,900 pounds per dollar for fuel stocks in the country and instructed pumps to sell fuel at the price set by the ministry last week.
But this did not immediately alleviate the situation on the weekend. Small businesses are closed until further notice, at least two shopping centers in Beirut are closed, and there are long lines outside bakeries because people are increasingly worried that the oven will get cold.
The American University Medical Center Beirut, one of the leading private hospitals in the Middle East, urgently requested fuel, saying that the lives of patients are in danger.
The hospital stated that “due to fuel shortages, it has faced a “forced shutdown” from Monday morning. This means that ventilators and other life-saving medical equipment will cease to operate.” It warned that 40 adults and 15 pediatric patients “relied on Life with a respirator will die immediately”.