- Title: Blackouts darken misery of Lebanon's economic collapse
- Date: 10th July 2020
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (JULY 6, 2020) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF DARK NARROW STREET WITH CAR LIGHT LIGHTING IT / PERSON WALKING VARIOUS OF STREET WITH LITTLE LIGHT VARIOUS OF GENERATOR RED LIGHT ON SIGNALLING THAT GENERATOR IS OPERATING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "All day there's no electricity, it came for an hour and then cut, look at what we lit up (referring to her rechargeable light)" VARIOUS OF SAMIRA HANNA WASHING DISHES WITH HER RECHARGEABLE LANTERN LIGHTING UP HER KITCHEN WHILE SAYING (Arabic) :'This is really boring we can't handle it anymore,' AND SAYING (Arabic):' sit down we can make some coffee' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "I was sitting outside on the stairs, what can I do? It's about time they (referring to the government) have mercy, that they have pity on us." HANNA WASHING DISHES WITH RECHARGEABLE LANTERN ON HANNA STANDING IN KITCHEN HOLDING RECHARGEABLE LIGHT HANNA SITTING IN HER LIVING ROOM WITH RECHARGEABLE LANTERN ON (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "There's nothing in the fridge, believe me. I am cooking that much (hand gesture referring to a small quantity) so that food doesn't stay for another day. I had to throw out the tomatoes and lemons. I threw everything in the fridge, there's nothing." VARIOUS OF HANNA HOLDING CANDLE / WALKING OUT OF HER KITCHEN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "This hasn't happened since the war but even during the war things were better than now, things were cheaper." HANNA SITTING NEXT TO HER DAUGHTER AND NEIGHBOUR / HANNA AND NEIGHBOUR HOLDING CANDLES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "We don't watch television, this girl (referring to her daughter) is getting (mentally and emotionally) affected, with no electricity and no television." VARIOUS OF HANNA SITTING NEXT TO DAUGHTER AND NEIGHBOUR WITH CANDLE IN HAND, HANNA SAYING (Arabic): 'Not all the people can afford generator subscriptions.' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRANDMOTHER, SAMIRA HANNA, SAYING: "I wish they would have pity on us, on these miserable, poor people, what more can I say? What do they care? They have money and they can live, and we can't, how can we live?" VARIOUS OF BUILDINGS WITH LITTLE TO NO LIGHT AND UNLIT STREET WITH CAR PASSING BY NARROW STREET FEW LIT WINDOWS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BEIRUT RESIDENT, BADIAA, 75, SAYING: "They are bringing it (the electricity) for two hours and then cut it, until the morning." BADIAA WALKING INSIDE HER HOME WITH RECHARGEABLE LIGHT ON, POINTING IT TOWARDS HER CEILING AND SAYING (Arabic) :'Look at this house, who lives like that?' VARIOUS OF BADIAA SITTING IN HER LIVING ROOM HOLDING TRAY USING IT AS HAND FAN WITH RECHARGEABLE LIGHT ON (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BEIRUT RESIDENT, BADIAA, 75, SAYING: "It's all talk and all lies, everything they say on TV is lies, they are not implementing anything, it's all lies." BADIAA HOLDING LIGHT AND LEAVING ROOM VARIOUS OF BEIRUT WITH SOME BUILDINGS PARTIALLY LIT
- Embargoed: 24th July 2020 09:01
- Keywords: Lebanon blackout crisis economy electricity fuel generators power sector shortage
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Human-Led Feature,Human-Led Stories
- Reuters ID: LVA001CM87GP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A side effect of Lebanon's financial meltdown, fuel shortages have worsened existing power cuts, piling further hardship on Lebanese struggling with job losses, soaring prices, hunger and leaving parts of Beirut in the dark.
Beirut resident Samira Hanna has been spending a lot of time in the dark. Her old Beirut apartment gets less than two hours of electricity a day, and with Lebanon's economy in ruins, the grandmother can barely afford candles, let alone a private generator.
"This hasn't happened since the war but even during the war things were better than now, things were cheaper," she said on Monday (July 6) as she sat in her living room with a rechargeable light.
Parts of the capital Beirut have just been getting few hours of electricity a day in the summer heat.
The energy minister has cited stockpiling as one of many reasons behind the shortages, with people buying subsidised fuel as a hedge against inflation.
"Instead of buying gold, people are buying diesel," Raymond Ghajar said recently.
Smuggling across the border to Syria is also a factor.
Ghajar said ships carrying fuel started arriving this week and promised a gradual return to normal - although across Lebanon, normal has meant daily power cuts of some kind.
Private generator suppliers, who have long filled the supply gap left by patchy state provision, have also been rationing fuel, and many homes can no longer pay exorbitant fees.
Even hospitals have not been spared: the main Beirut public hospital treating coronavirus cases had to close some operating rooms and turn off air conditioning in its hallways, local media reported.
And without energy for switchboards, mobile phone coverage was cut in parts of the country.
Lebanon's power sector, at the heart of the crisis, bleeds up to $2 billion from public funds every year while failing to supply enough electricity. The heavily indebted state has long promised to fix it but has not delivered on its pledge.
Hanna, in her 70s, said she never had it this bad. Daily outages have made her mentally disabled daughter frantic.
The blackouts have stoked resentment towards political leaders who publicly wrangle over how to repair the sector while power cuts get worse.
Beirut resident, Badiaa, 75, goes without electricity most of the day.
"It's all talk and all lies, everything they say on TV is lies, they are not implementing anything, it's all lies," she said.
(Production: Imad Creidi, Ayat Basma)
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