On Sunday, the Lebanese government announced its decision to sharply raise gasoline prices. The increase in the cost of fuel by 66% at once is due to the desire of the authorities to reduce the shortage of gasoline on the domestic market, transfers Reuters. Fearing a further deterioration in the economic and political situation, foreign diplomats are leaving Lebanon.
The decision to raise prices for AI-95 gasoline entered into force without delay. On August 12, Lebanon’s central bank announced it could no longer allocate money to subsidize fuel imports. This decision caused panic among the Lebanese and led to street riots. After that, with the participation of the government, a compromise decision was made – the Central Bank will partially continue to subsidize the purchase of gasoline abroad. At the same time, prices will rise, but will still be below market prices.
The rise in fuel prices worsens the already difficult economic situation in the country, where over the past two years, due to the rapid devaluation of the national currency (by more than 90%), the level of poverty has significantly increased.
Against this background, the British Foreign Office decided on Friday to withdraw some of its employees and their family members from Lebanon. The British government said in a statement that essential goods, including fuel, medicine and food, are becoming “increasingly scarce due to the economic crisis” in Lebanon.
According to UNICEF, which leads Al Arabiya, due to a serious fuel crisis, more than 4 million people out of 6 million living in Lebanon may face a shortage of water or completely lose access to it.
Soaring gasoline prices have led to social tensions. Huge queues appeared at the gas station. Conflicts constantly arise between car owners, often the rivalry for gasoline ends in fights. Sometimes they end up with the intervention of army units. So, on August 17, Lebanese army soldiers stopped clashes that broke out near a gas station in Dahiya on the southern outskirts of Beirut. There, a volley from a grenade launcher was fired at a gas station, which ignited the interior. The firefighters who arrived at the scene extinguished the flames. It was reported that warring Shiite clans took part in the conflict.
On August 9, the Lebanese military intervened in clashes near gas stations in the vicinity of the city of Tripoli (90 km north of Beirut), where four people were killed. informs TASS.