Officials: Lebanon hospitals in crisis as a result of fuel shortage

Beirut, July 23, (dpa/GNA) - Lebanon's hospitals and doctors warned on Friday of a new crisis as a result of the fuel shortage which is threatening the lives of patients in need of oxygen and life-saving equipment.

"Most hospitals across the country are running out of fuel and some have only supplies left to last them a few days maximum," Suleiman Haroun, head of the private Hospital's Syndicate, told dpa.

He stressed that some of the small hospitals have already stopped receiving any new patients.

"We in the health sector are struggling to get fuel to run our generators for almost 20 hours, but we are working with the concerned authorities to secure the amount of fuel in order for our health sector to remain secure and avoid a catastrophe," Haroun added.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis since its 15-year civil war ended in 1990. The state-run electricity provider has been severely cutting power supplies in the past few weeks, prompting people, businesses and hospitals to rely on private generators.

The head of the Lebanese doctor's syndicate, Charaf Abu Charaf, told dpa that already hospitals are refusing to accept patients who can be treated at home.

"Only very serious conditions are being accepted," he told dpa, adding that the deteriorating situation in the health sector has pushed some 1200 doctors to leave the country and look for jobs abroad.

The lack of foreign currency had made it impossible for the state to secure the fuel and other commodities needed for the country.

The Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019, hit an all-time low last week, when it traded at around 23,500 to the dollar on the black market.