Lebanon suffered a total power outage over the weekend, leaving its population of 6 million without centrally generated electricity for 24 hours. The crisis is creating a nightmare for the country’s residents, but has been a long time in the making.
The state electricity company said in a statement that the shutdown of the country’s two main power stations, due to fuel shortages, had “directly affected the stability of the power network and led to its complete outage, with no possibility of resuming operations in the meantime.” Power had returned late Sunday after the central bank granted the energy ministry $100 million in credit to buy fuel and keep its plants operating. Officials had warned the outage was likely to last several days. “We cannot buy a lot of things. We cannot buy cheese and ham, we have to buy them by small pieces, because we don’t always have electricity, and the people are always afraid,” one shop owner told CNBC.
For Lebanon, the same problem has been a reality for months, it’s just another battle in the long list of crises that have left the country with multiple daily power outages, a banking and economic crisis, food shortages, overwhelmed hospitals, and a spiraling currency relying on volatile black market exchange rates.