Lebanon Hospital Says Fuel Crisis Puts Ventilators at Risk
(Bloomberg) -- One of Lebanon’s top hospitals said on Saturday it will be forced to shut off ventilators and other lifesaving equipment in less than 48 hours as fuel shortages grip the country.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) said in a statement it will have run out of supplies to power the equipment by Monday morning. It urged the government and international aid agencies to provide it with fuel as the country grapples with its worst economic meltdown in decades.
“Forty adult patients and fifteen children living on respirators will die immediately” if the equipment is unable to operate, the AUBMC statement said.
Basic services have been crumbling in Lebanon, which has been in a deepening financial crisis since 2019. The currency has collapsed, driving inflation into triple digits and wiping out savings. On Thursday, the central bank scrapped fuel subsidies, saying the move was aimed at tackling the supply problem and shadow market. But the move caused prices to soar and appeared to compound supply issues.
Gas station owners and fuel importers have accused the central bank, whose foreign reserves have been depleted, of being slow to open credit lines, creating a fuel shortage that’s plunged the once-middle class nation into darkness all but several hours a day. The government has defaulted on its international debt and has failed to take the measures required to secure international support to drag the country out of economic disaster.
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