Lebanese struggle to fill up cars as economic crisis worsens

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Apartment buildings are seen in Beirut, Lebanon, July 10, 2020. Lebanon's real estate sector saw significant demand following years of stagnation as most depositors in Lebanese banks decided to flee their money into real estate amid fears of a possible haircut given the financial collapse in the country, experts say. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua)
Apartment buildings are seen in Beirut, Lebanon, July 10, 2020. Lebanon's real estate sector saw significant demand following years of stagnation as most depositors in Lebanese banks decided to flee their money into real estate amid fears of a possible haircut given the financial collapse in the country, experts say. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua)

The Lebanese were struggling to fill up their cars on Saturday, a day after the country’s caretaker government reduced fuel subsidies amid deepening economic woes.

Long lines of cars stretched outside fuel stations in Beirut where motorists waited for more than two hours to get half a litre of fuel, witnesses said.

Some motorists said they had to bribe petrol station employees to fill up their cars. Others expressed anger.

“I have been waiting for three hours. I’ve brought my children along with me so that they would do their homework in the car in the meantime,” a housewife named Mona told dpa.

“Everybody is edgy at petrol stations. You’re always worried to get into a fight with someone while waiting in line. This is unbearable and unacceptable,” a taxi driver said.

The Lebanese newspaper al-Joumhouria posted a video showing two men fighting at a fuel station.

Lebanon’s shortages are attributed to a lack of foreign currency reserves necessary to import the fuel.

The country’s local pound has hit its lowest level on the black market, trading for 17,100 to 17,200 to the dollar, Lebanese media reported.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis since a 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

The country has failed to form a new government since October due to wrangling among political rivals.

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