The Lebanese authorities’ failure to resolve a catastrophic fuel crisis has crippled people’s daily lives and left hospitals hanging by a thread, said Amnesty International. The organization is calling on the authorities to uphold economic and social rights in their response and prioritize the redistribution of fuel to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, which have been on the brink of collapse.
Hundreds of patients, including new-born babies on ventilators and other lifesaving medical devices risk dying if hospitals run out of fuel. With a thriving black market, smuggling and fuel-hoarding diverting supplies away from life-critical services, it is equally imperative for the authorities to take immediate steps to hold perpetrators to account.
“The Lebanese authorities cannot continue to stand by and watch people’s lives being devastated by the fuel crisis leaving it to private initiatives or NGOs to address crucial humanitarian needs. People’s health and lives have been put on the line as hospitals have drastically cut back operations,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The authorities must urgently prioritize health facilities and other life-critical services by redistributing seized fuel stocks to them and implementing court orders ordering them to do so. They must also tackle the thriving black market by blocking smuggling channels, seizing illegal hoarded fuel and holding perpetrators to account.”