Politics & News

Lebanon plunges into complete darkness as two major power stations close

Lebanon financial crisis in has resulted in a severe electrical deficit, forcing many people to rely on private generators.

Lebanon’s two main power facilities were shut down on Friday, resulting in a near-total power outage that left much of the country in the dark.

The outage caused by two stations running out of fuel has compounded a crisis in which residents have only two hours of power every day. It has been challenging to pay foreign energy suppliers due to a lack of money. 

Pharmacies also went on strike after a shortage of pharmaceuticals caused by the non-payment of wages to international importers.

Deir Ammar and Zahrani, EDL’s two major power plants in Lebanon, generate together around 40% of the country’s electricity. They were shut down on Friday.

The gas-laden ships refused to offload the fuel until the funds were transferred to their owners’ accounts in US dollars.

“The electricity has been switched off throughout the Lebanese territory indefinitely,” the Electricité du Liban (EDL) said in the city of Zahle in eastern Lebanon.

Water rationing has been implemented in large parts of the country. The pumping stations are diesel-powered and lacking in supplies.

An economic crisis has ravaged Lebanon for the past two years, and the Lebanese pound has plummeted to new lows.

Drugs for cancer and heart disease have already run out at some local healthcare facilities.

On Friday, pharmacies around the country shut down in protest over a pharmaceutical shortage. The Pharmacy Owners Association declared an “open-ended countrywide strike across Lebanon,” claiming that 80% of pharmacies in Beirut were closed.

The collapsing economy has pushed half of the people into poverty, sparking large rallies calling for the political elite to be removed from power, accusing them of corruption and neglect.

The vast majority of people are subjected to hours of complete darkness. Lebanon has had no round-the-clock electricity for decades; thus, blackouts are not uncommon.

People filled in the gaps by joining a parallel system of private generators after the government rationed power generation.  Generators, on the other hand, are under strain. It runs on difficult-to-come-by diesel, and generator owners cannot replace the country’s entire electricity supply. Furthermore, generators have grown increasingly expensive, and many people are unable to buy them.

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