Lebanon’s electricity grid has shut down entirely after the country’s two main power stations ran out of fuel, according to reports.
The al Zahrani and the Deir Ammar power stations stopped working after supplies of diesel were apparently exhausted, and energy production dropped to below 200 megawatts.
The outage will continue for a few days, at least, Reuters news agency has said, quoting an official source.
“The Lebanese power network completely stopped working at noon today (10am UK time), and it is unlikely that it will work until next Monday, or for several days,” the official said.
The thermoelectric plant stopped at Zahrani power station just a day after the Deir Ammar plant stopped on Friday due to a fuel shortage.
The state electric company will try to use the army’s fuel oil reserve to operate the power plants temporarily but this will not happen anytime soon, the official said.
It comes as Lebanon struggles with a fuel shortage that has forced many businesses to close and left people relying on the black market.
People have queued for miles to fill up their vehicles, with the chaos sometimes resulting in violence.
At the end of September, a man died after swallowing petrol he was siphoning out of his vehicle’s tank, the country’s national news agency reported.
The UN estimates that 78% of the country’s population is living in poverty, with soaring unemployment and a currency that has plummeted in value.
In August, at least 20 people were killed and 79 others injured after a fuel tank exploded at a warehouse in northern Lebanon, where fuel had been illegally stored.
It is part of a wider crisis, compounded by corruption and bad governance, which affects almost every part of life in Lebanon and has seen the Lebanese currency sink by 90% since 2019.
The country remains in political turmoil following the appointment of a temporary government following last August’s catastrophic Beirut explosion that killed more than 150 people and injured 6,000, while destroying large parts of the city.
It happened after 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – used as a fertiliser and in explosives – caught fire after being stored unsafely at a port warehouse.