Lebanese face cold, harsh winter without diesel

The last thing they need: Lebanon is witnessing harsh snow storms this winter

amid an economic meltdown that has pushed many people into poverty, and left them unable to afford diesel oil to warm their homes.

Here in Kfarshouba, a remote village in southern Lebanon, Miled Nohra has had to rely on the local forest, because his earnings are in a badly devalued local currency.

"This winter I'm using wood, because I can't afford the cost of diesel oil. A diesel oil barrel is very expensive, it costs $145, and they only accept dollars, while I earn in Lebanese pounds."

Residents say the storms have blocked roads, making it hard to get food and medicines from larger towns.

The head of the municipality, Hachem al-Kadiri, says people are struggling.

"The situation was already bad even before the snow arrived, with the coronavirus, the rise in prices, a lack of diesel oil, the rise in the exchange rate and decrease of citizens' purchasing power. Then snow came in addition to all of this and people and the municipality are suffering from a fuel crisis. People need at least a barrel a month to keep warm in this very cold weather."

The World Bank ranks Lebanon's crisis as one of the worst the world has seen since the mid-19th century.

It began in 2019, the result of a poorly managed spending binge and squabbling leaders.

Foreign lenders are reluctant to bail the country out unless it reforms.

About 80% of the population is now considered poor.

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