Lebanon has been plunged into darkness after a power outage that is expected to last for ‘several days’.
The national grid 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 ( which is only enough to power approximately 5,000 homes).
A government official said the blackout could last all weekend, leaving the population of around six million people in total darkness.
The official said: ‘The Lebanese power network completely stopped working at noon today, and it is unlikely that it will work until next Monday, or for several days.’
Blackouts have been a problem in Lebanon since the end of its 15-year civil war in 1990, and the small country relies heavily on imported fuel.
Many citizens rely on private generators run on diesel, although that is also in short supply.
There were power outages throughout September due to the fuel shortage which in recent months has forced many businesses to close and left people relying on the black market.
In August, at least 20 people were killed after a tank exploded at a warehouse in northern Lebanon where fuel had been illegally stored.
The shortage has caused long lines for basic goods spilling out on to the streets in what have been branded ‘queues of humiliation’ by locals.
At times, people have queued for miles to fill up their cars, often resulting in chaotic scenes filled with violence.
It is part of a wider economic and political crises impacting all aspects of daily life in Lebanon.
The UN estimates that 78% of the population is living in poverty.
The country’s currency has collapsed and unemployment and inflation is soaring amid vast discontent at a political system long accused of negligence and corruption.
Lebanon remains in political turmoil after a temporary government was installed following the catastrophic explosion in the capital Beirut that killed more than 150 people, injured 6,000 and destroyed large parts of the city last August.
The blast happened after 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate caught fire after being stored unsafely at a port warehouse.
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