SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 August 2021, Tuesday |

Man tries to set his car ablaze as Lebanon battles severe fuel shortages

A man tried on Sunday to set his car ablaze on the Lebanese highway of Halba – Khreibet Al Jundi after waiting for long hours to fill it with gasoline, the National News Agency reported.

The man, whose identity was not disclosed, got extremely frustrated after repeated failed attempts to get some gasoline and after waiting for long hours in queues outside gas stations, the agency said, adding that members of the Internal Security Forces and a number of young men prevented him from burning it.

Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic crisis that is posing the worst threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war. Shortages of fuel in past weeks have forced motorists to queue for hours for dribbles of gasoline, with squabbles erupting among frustrated citizens.

The country’s fuel shortages are tied to increased rationing of scarce foreign currency by the central bank, which subsidizes fuel imports at an exchange rate some 10-times below the current market rate.

Widespread hoarding and smuggling to neighboring Syria are also at the core of the problem, according to the country’s caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar who has called for a crackdown on the illicit cross-border trade.