Lebanon’s electricity failed over the weekend, plunging the country into further difficulty on top of economic collapse, political corruption, and a deadly port explosion in Beirut last year.
Though limited power was restored Sunday after about 24 hours of outages, the collapse of the state-run electrical grid on Saturday is just the most extreme manifestation of a chronic fuel shortage that has plagued Lebanon for the last year and a half.
Lebanese citizens have struggled with the state’s electric company, Electricité du Liban, for years, and its shortcomings mean that private generators are common, at least for those who can afford them. Even in an ordinary week, it’s common for people to have as little as one or two hours of daily electricity from the state grid.
But the crisis came to a head Saturday when the nation’s two largest power stations ran out of enough diesel fuel to provide even a few hours of electricity in a country already confronted with multiple crises.
The Deir Ammar and Zahrani power stations shut down in quick succession over the weekend after fuel ran out, leaving Lebanon’s population of more than 6.8 million people without public power. The blackout comes just over a week after the government allowed a contract with a Turkish company supplying power via two barges off the coast of Beirut to lapse, cutting off that energy supply.
Though common, private generators proved insufficient during the outage — as Beirut-based journalist Bel Trew pointed out on Twitter Saturday, not only are such generators incredibly expensive to run and equally subject to Lebanon’s fuel shortages, but they do little to keep essential services like hospitals running.
Lebanon now has zero
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