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Firefighters attempt to put out a fire at the Zahrani oil facility in southern Lebanon Firefighters attempt to put out a fire at the Zahrani oil facility in southern Lebanon 

Lebanon: turmoil worsens with yet another fuel crisis caused by blaze

Firefighters in Lebanon extinguish a huge blaze in a storage tank at one of the country's main oil facilities in the south. The incident compounds difficulties as cash-strapped Lebanon struggles through a serious power crisis and economic downfall that affects employment, livelihoods, and basic humanitarian needs.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis has repeatedly called for prayers for crisis-stricken Lebanon where divided governments have failed to implement crucial reform and the currency has been devalued by 90 percent since 2019. All this setting the stage for widespread misery as the loss of jobs and of buying power afflicts more and more people from all walks of life.

Monday’s blaze was reportedly triggered when workers were transferring fuel from one storage tank to another in the coastal town of Zahrani.

Almost 250,000 liters of fuel were burnt but thankfully no one was hurt.

A black-out last week, that brought the Lebanese power network to a complete halt, saw the country's two biggest power stations shut down because of what has become chronic fuel shortage.

The problems experienced by the suffering population have been spiraling since a massive explosion in August 2020 at Beirut’s port that killed at least 215 people, wounded thousands, and destroyed the facility and nearby neighborhoods.

That blast at Beirut’s port, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever reported, was caused by hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers that had been improperly stored for years.

Meanwhile, human rights observers note the education system in the country is on its knees with dire consequences for the children and the future of the nation.

11 October 2021, 16:19