News last week that Lebanon's parliament approved a $200 million loan to buy fuel imports for power generation, offered some respite for the country’s population.
A mix of relief, despair and a touch of dark humor about the hardships encountered, and from the fear of what could happen next is being expressed by the public.
“We were forced to spend the winter in the mountains because our house is still damaged due to the explosion, and it was one of the hardest winters we ever faced, no electricity, no heating system or equipment until we eventually bought a heater that runs on fuel oil and sometimes we just couldn’t find any so we just had to pull through the night,” Hanane Droubi told Al Arabiya English.
Parts of Lebanon have been receiving as little as four hours of electricity per day over the last months as the country’s fuel reserves ran out and power generation plants failed to pull through.
“Our household electrical appliances are being damaged because of the ongoing electricity cuts and fluctuation, the power comes on for a couple of minutes then off for 4-5 hours,” said a Lebanese woman living in the suburbs of Beirut.
The challenge for Beirut architect Ali Fadlallah, is protecting his family from the grave situation the country finds itself, and finding ways to lift the level of fear.
“My newborn baby’s first word was “light” because every time the electricity cuts, we all say the word out loud until he laughs, we found it was a good distraction so he doesn’t get scared of the dark,” he said.
The approval received angering reactions from the Lebanese community on Twitter, with users saying that the people themselves are the ones to pay for this loan, questioning this non-sustainable short-term solution, and wondering what would be the government’s next step once they run out of money again.
“Giving any advance from the remaining funds of depositors is not the right of the House of Representatives because it is private money and not public. The solution to darkness through the advance is temporary. The choice is between bad and worse, and the worst is to dispose of the rights of the Lebanese without a horizon,” MP Antoine Habchi tweeted.
Caretaker energy minister Raymond Ghajar had warned the country would plunge into “total darkness” at the end of last month without securing money to buy fuel for power stations.