Man dies siphoning petrol in Lebanon

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Man dies after swallowing petrol siphoned from his car amid Lebanon's crippling fuel crisis.
Camera IconMan dies after swallowing petrol siphoned from his car amid Lebanon's crippling fuel crisis. Credit: AP

A Syrian man died after swallowing petrol he was siphoning out of his vehicle’s tank with a plastic tube, Lebanon’s national news agency said.

Lebanon is witnessing a paralysing fuel shortage that has driven people to hoard petrol and resort to black-market sellers, while many businesses have been forced to shut down.

A diesel shortage has also caused extended blackouts, in a country dependent on private generators.

Every day there are queues several miles long at petrol stations across the country. The long lines have often descended into chaos, and sometimes violence.

Amid the shortage, men peddle petrol on the street in plastic bottles. People sometimes use plastic hoses to siphon fuel, filling bottles either to sell on the black market or fill other vehicles.

Fuel smuggling to neighbouring Syria, in private vehicles or in lorries, also became rampant, with many blaming it for deepening the crisis.

The Lebanese National News Agency said the young man in the northern town of Bhannine died in hospital, where he was transferred after swallowing the petrol from his vehicle’s tank.

Lebanon has for decades suffered electricity cuts, partly because of widespread corruption and mismanagement.

Foreign reserves are running dangerously low and inflation and unemployment have soared.

The situation deteriorated dramatically over the last months, particularly after the central bank decided to end subsidies for fuel products. Fuel prices are now 10 times higher than they were last year.

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