- Title: Life grinds to a halt in Lebanon's blackouts
- Date: 13th August 2021
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) (NIGHT SHOTS) DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING PARTIALLY LIT BUILDINGS IN BEIRUT OVER SUNSET DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING BUILDINGS IN BEIRUT VARIOUS OF DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING CARS DRIVING IN DARK STREET AT MARTYRS SQUARE IN CENTRAL BEIRUT DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING CARS DRIVING IN DARK STREETS BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 50-YEAR-OLD LEBANESE BARBECUE JOINT OWNER, HASSAN KHALIFE, SAYING: "During the civil war, even with how horrible it was, there weren't any power cuts. There was water and there were jobs. What we are witnessing now is harsher than during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990)." KHALIFE OPENING FRIDGE AT HIS JOINT AND SAYING (Arabic): "It (the fridge) was on in the morning. Electricity comes for like two hours, and our neighbour who has a generator is helping us to keep the fridge cold." GENERATOR IN THE STREET FACING KHALIFE'S JOINT VARIOUS OF KHALIFE PREPARING BARBECUE AND GRILLING MEAT AND CHICKEN KHALIFE WALKING IN TO HIS JOINT KHALIFE CHOPPING TOMATOES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 50-YEAR-OLD LEBANESE BARBECUE JOINT OWNER, HASSAN KHALIFE, SAYING: "If you do not hear the generator, you will need to put on similar music because we've become used to the sound, it's like hearing birds or something. This has now become part of our daily life, if the electricity is on, you immediately ask whether it is government electricity or a generator." KHALIFE'S HAND GESTURING / SANDWICHES MID-PREPARATION ON THE TABLE IN BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 50-YEAR-OLD LEBANESE BARBECUE JOINT OWNER, HASSAN KHALIFE, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE ENDS ON KHALIFE TURNING ON TAP WITH NO WATER COMING OUT) "There is the water. This has become part of our heritage, you open the tap, there is no water." BIG GENERATORS ON STREET SIDE GENERATORS OWNER METRI FLOUTI TURNING ON ONE OF HIS GENERATORS VARIOUS OF FLOUTI CHECKING HIS GENERATORS VARIOUS OF WIRES AND SWITCHES AT FLOUTI'S GENERATORS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE GENERATORS OWNER, METRI FLOUTI, SAYING: "The government is not providing electricity, we are turning our generators for 20 or 21 hours (per day), for a very long time, and now we are out of mazout (fuel oil). We are looking for mazout but can't find any." ELECTRICITY SWITCHES AT FLOUTI'S OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE GENERATORS OWNER, METRI FLOUTI, SAYING: "For example, people around here in this neighbourhood...you are hearing the sound of generators - there are three generators running now - and as much as they have silencers, it is not 100% (silent), especially that it is hot and we have to open the doors. The neighbours here are saying to me, keep the generators running with the noise, please do not turn it off." BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) PEOPLE HOLDING BALLOONS WITH LIGHTS AND WALKING ON BEIRUT'S SEASIDE CORNICHE IN THE DARK MAN HOLDING FLASHLIGHT AND WALKING ON THE SEASIDE CORNICHE PEOPLE SITTING ON THE SEASIDE CORNICHE / TRAFFIC PASSING BY IN THE BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF BALLOONS WITH LIGHTS ON THE CORNICHE RETIRED POLICEMAN ALI RAYCHOUNY SITTING WITH HIS SON AT THE CORNICHE PREPARING HIS FISHING KIT IN THE DARK / RAYCHOUNY'S SON USING HIS PHONE AS A TORCH (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE RETIRED POLICEMAN, ALI RAYCHOUNY, SAYING: "We ran away from home, there is no electricity and it is hot. We are bored, disgusted and broke." RAYCHOUNY AND HIS SON SITTING BY THE CORNICHE BEIT MERY, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) BEIRUT CITY AS SEEN FROM BEIT MERY TOWN VARIOUS OF CARS DRIVING IN DARKNESS IN BEIT MERY STREETS BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 11, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF CARS DRIVING IN BEIRUT'S DARK STREETS JIYEH, SOUTHERN OF BEIRUT (AUGUST 11, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE HOUSEWIFE, MANAR YASSINE, SAYING WHILST WALKING AND POINTING AT AND OPENING HER WASHING MACHINE) "Now, for example, I'm waiting for electricity to wash my laundry. The laundry is just in the washing machine." LIGHTS SWITCHED OFF AT YASSINE'S HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE HOUSEWIFE, MANAR YASSINE, SAYING WHILE POINTING AT HER WASHING MACHINE: "When the house lights are on, you feel like you will have a good day, like the glowing light. I feel my home is dark, and it gives you depression." LIGHT SWITCHED OFF AT YASSINE'S HOUSE BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) (NIGHT SHOTS) DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING PARTIALLY LIT BUILDINGS IN AND AROUND CENTRAL BEIRUT DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING CARS DRIVING AT BEIRUT SEASIDE SEHAYLEH, LEBANON (AUGUST 11, 2021) (REUTERS) SALINE BAGS IN MACHINE / WORKER PICKING BAG AT ALFA LABORATORIES VARIOUS OF MACHINES PRODUCING GLASS EQUIPMENT FOR MEDICAL USE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GENERAL MANAGER OF ALFA LABORATORIES, SOUAD AKL, SAYING: "The company was established in 1973, and since then, it never stopped production. Yesterday on Tuesday (August 10) was the first time we forcibly stopped production. On Monday (August 9) at 3:30 pm, the four generators we have - which have a capacity 500 KVAs each - stopped completely." GENERATORS AT ALFA LAB VARIOUS OF TRUCK PROVIDING FUEL FOR ALFA LAB BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 10, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) (NIGHT SHOTS) DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING PARTIALLY LIT BUILDINGS IN BEIRUT DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING CARS DRIVING IN BEIRUT'S DARK STREET DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING CARS DRIVING ON BEIRUT SEASIDE
- Embargoed: 27th August 2021 15:04
- Keywords: Beirut Lebanon blackouts crisis drone electricity light
- Location: BEIRUT, BEIT MERY, JIYEH AND SEHAYLEH, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, BEIT MERY, JIYEH AND SEHAYLEH, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Middle East,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EQ45ZRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Lebanon's worsening fuel crisis has reached a painful crunch point, with bakeries, businesses and hospitals either scaling back operations or shutting down completely, making life even harder for Lebanese already enduring a financial meltdown.
As the fuel oil that powers Lebanon has disappeared from the market, Lebanese have sweltered at home in the summer heat without light or AC, routinely tossing out the contents of fridges while having to set aside hours to fill up the car - if increasingly scarce gasoline can be found.
Many say living conditions are worse than during the 1975-90 civil war.
It marks a new low in the financial crisis that erupted in late 2019, the result of decades of corruption and mismanagement by a ruling elite that has failed to find solutions as more than half the population has sunk into poverty.
In the latest policy failure, the government is sparring with the central bank over its decision to end fuel subsidies, a step that would spell sharply higher prices.
While the stand-off continues, importers told Reuters the country faced a huge shortage of fuel.
"During the civil war, even with how horrible it was, there weren't any power cuts," said Hassan Khalife, 50, who owns a small barbecue joint near parliament in Beirut.
Khalife has downgraded from three refrigerators to one, which he powers via a line from a neighbour's generator that whirrs loudly across the street. "We've become used to the sound, it's like hearing birds or something," he said.
On Wednesday (August 11), Lebanon's electricity minister told reporters that the country needs 3,000 megawatts of power but only has enough fuel to produce 750. People say they get one or two hours of electricity off the grid per day, if any.
The shortage of fuel, known as mazout, means people can't run their own generators to fill the gap.
"We are looking for mazout but can't find any," says Metri Flouti, who manages generators for buildings in the upscale Ashrafieh neighbourhood, and is forced by the heat at home to sleep in his air conditioned office.
Key businesses are having the same problem.
Souad Akl, general manager of Alfa Laboratories which produces saline solution and other medical essentials, told Reuters her factory shut down for the first time in almost 50 years this week.
A city known for its nightlife, Beirut's downtown and corniche are plunged into darkness, but still draw some escaping the heat at home.
"I feel my home is dark, and it gives you depression," said homemaker Manar Yassine.
She has emptied her fridge and waits to do laundry in the precious hour of electricity from the grid, trying to cut back on generator costs.
Her husband's once comfortable salary now only covers their generator subscription, internet, and satellite TV. She told Reuters she considers emigration if she would have the means to.
(Production: Issam Abdallah, Imad Creidi, Nafisa Eltahir)
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