The price of fuel has increased by nearly 70% since a week in Lebanon; an increase linked to a further reduction in state subsidies, in a country deprived of foreign currency due to a deep banking and monetary crisis. In fact, the country has been experiencing serious gasoline shortages for months.
Fuel prices have actually jumped in two months time, since the start of reductions in subsidies granted by the Lebanese Central Bank to the many imports of basic foodstuffs, which the country needs.
This latest increase is likely to have further repercussions throughout the economy and will cause prices to rise in the country affected by hyperinflation. With the crisis, prices in supermarkets are increasing almost from week to week, due to a depreciation of the Lebanese pound that nothing seems to stop.
These price increases and fuel shortages affect the entire bottled water production and distribution chain, explains the French-language daily L’Orient Le Jour.
Because, in a country deprived of continuous electricity supply – barely a few hours a day of electricity are provided by the public company Electricité du Liban, it is the generators and the generators which compensate for the absence of current. And in drinking water bottling plants, these generators are essential for pumping water, and for making plastic bottles. Not only: how also to get the bottles to supermarkets and households, if the distributors cannot buy gasoline?
Running water in homes is not drinkable in the country, the Lebanese are therefore largely dependent on this market for drinking water for boron and cooking. But, moreover, even tap water is running out, because generators can no longer pump domestic water to send it to houses and apartments …
Today, several confrontations between customers are reported in supermarkets which now ration the quantity of water bottles sold per person.
A worrying situation, to the point of calling out to UNICEF. According to the UN agency, more than four million people are threatened with no longer having access to water in Lebanon, which is equivalent to 70% of the country’s population.
“Unless urgent action is taken, more than four million people risk being completely without drinking water supplies in the coming days“, warns the director of UNICEF in a press release.
In addition, with the lack of drinking water, gasoline and gas, it is also food that is now affected. Bacteria are multiplying, and food infections and gastric illnesses are on the increase, reports the French newspaper La Croix.
Since the fall of 2019, Lebanon has been going through one of the worst economic crises in the world since the mid-19th century, according to the World Bank.
A mechanism of the Central Bank (BDL) made it possible to provide importers with dollars at the official rate of 1,507 Lebanese pounds, more advantageous than that of the market, thus controlling the prices of certain products.
But short of foreign exchange, the BDL began to gradually ration its dollars. At the end of June, it announced the adoption of a rate of 3,900 pounds to the dollar for fuel imports.
On Saturday, during a meeting between the president, the outgoing prime minister and the governor of the central bank, a new rate of 8,000 pounds was adopted.
On the black market, the dollar reached 20,000 Lebanese pounds this summer.
For several weeks, the exhausted population has lived long hours without electricity and even hospitals have been threatened by the energy crisis. About 78% of the Lebanese population now live below the poverty line, according to the UN.