Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon’s Arsal in complete darkness
As of Sunday midnight, the Syrian refugee camps in the border town of Arsal in eastern Lebanon, entered a new phase of suffering against the backdrop of the economic crisis that has hit Lebanon for two years.
Zaman al-Wasl reporter in Arsal camps confirmed that the generators electricity, owned by the private sector, was completely cut off in 140 camps and more than 170 residential gatherings, for an unknown period as the owners of the generators, which supply refugees by power, say the high diesel prices are no longer affordable.
The owner of the ”Zaloum generators” in Arsal issued a statement on Saturday saying: “Our dear people… the rise in the price of the diesel fuel tank and its interruption in most cases, and we had to buy it at fantastic prices from the black market, and in order not to burden our people in the town with the burden of raising the price, we inform you that we will stop supplying the town with electricity starting on March 13.”
The Zaman al-Wasl reporter from the Arsal camps noted that the complete power outage had negatively affected the work of hospitals and medical points serving Syrian refugees inside the town, and also caused a noticeable interruption of the Internet in those camps.
The Arsal-based activist Samer Abu Uday told Zaman al-Wasl that some generators’ owners contacted the camp supervisors to agree to raise the price of the ampere to $25 in order to continue supplying electricity to the camps, but the camp supervisors rejected the offer because of their inability to pay this sky-rocket price.
Nearly 11 years since the revolution in Syria began and violence escalated, around 1.5 million refugees remain displaced in Lebanon – accounting for nearly a quarter of Lebanon’s total population, the highest proportion of refugees anywhere in the world, according to the New Humanitarian.
The head of the Association of Private Generators Owners in Lebanon, Abdo Saadeh, said in a TV interview that “the situation is very bad, and there are areas where generators have been completely turned off, warning that if the ailing economic condition remains as it is and no solutions are found for the issue of diesel.”
“On Tuesday, we will witness a complete shutdown of some generators in many areas without exception, including in the capital, Beirut,” he added.
He added, “We have always called for solutions such as diesel subsidy so that generator owners can achieve savings in the subscribers’ bill to support the Lebanese people, or price it in Lebanese pounds or according to the price of an exchange platform, and most importantly, fixing its price, but there are no deaf ears.”
Saadeh indicated that the generators’ owners have deliberately reduced feeding hours to 5 or 6 hours in some areas, and to 8 or 10 hours in other areas, while feeding in some areas is limited to the night period.
Abu Uday stressed that there are no clear solutions until this moment, which has cast a blackout over more than 60,000 Syrian refugees in the town of Arsal, which is completely engulfed in darkness, as of last night.
The activist, Abu Uday, stressed that there are no clear solutions until now to this problem, which has cast a shadow over more than 60,000 Syrian refugees in the town of Arsal.
The activist called on the relief and international associations to assume their responsibilities and work to secure electricity for the camps and residential gatherings inhabited by Syrian refugees by alternative methods, which is the installation of solar panels to provide electricity for Syrian refugees.
The Syrian conflict has claimed 500,000 lives and has displaced 13,2 million people since it erupted in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Observatory.