Lights out in Lebanon: Power outages darken the entire country for 24 hours
Critical power shortages have been looming for months now; Leaders scrambling to import emergency supplies in the coming days
After months of warning that fuel is running low and that the nation is on the brink of disaster, Lebanon’s government-run power plants ran out of electricity on Saturday and the entire nation was left without power except for solar powered lights and private generators in some places.
The outages were expected to last for days, but on Sunday the main electric provider issued a statement saying it is now delivering the same level of power as it was before the outage – which still falls short of 24 hours a day. Energy Minister Walid Fayad said the military would supply the country with power while waiting for shipments from foreign sources in the coming days.
Fayad said that his ministry obtained approval of the Council of Ministers and the Central Bank to purchase $100 million of imported fuel.
“We expect this matter to help raise the hours of electricity supply by the end of this month,” he said.
The Lebanese people have been enduring daily electricity outages and while some had come to rely on generators, the costs for those has skyrocketed.
The nation has been short on petrol for several months now as well. Cars have been abandoned on the side of highways where they ran out of gas and tense lines form at gas stations that do have fuel. Fights – some deadly – have broken out while customers wait to fuel their vehicles.
Lebanon’s leaders have been warning of an impending blackout and – with an economy in crisis – have been seeking bailouts from other nations. Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist organization that is also a political partying the country’s complex governmental system, has ordered fuel from Iran – a move that many leaders say is illegal and a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Even Turkey, which was supplying electricity from two floating power stations to Lebanon, halted supplies back in May when it said Lebanon failed to pay. Currently Lebanon is working to bring in power from Iraq and is negotiating with Jordan and Egypt as well.
The Lebanese people have been protesting corruption and dire living conditions since October 2019. The country has suffered several challenges in recent years, including the devastating blast at the Beirut Port in August 2020 which left nearly 200 people dead and thousands homeless.