Opinion

Pandemic, economic collapse, explosions... who wants to be Lebanese in 2020?

A wounded man is helped by a firefighter near the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. (AFP / ANWAR AMRO)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Pandemic, economic collapse, explosions... who wants to be Lebanese in 2020?

  • Latest disaster caps a year of challenges for beleaguered country, and there are still five months to get through

LONDON: Until now, all Lebanon had to contend with this year had been a devastating pandemic, a crippling economic collapse and a government accused of corruption and incompetence.

Now this. And it’s only August.

“This has been the worst year for Lebanon by far,” Karim Nahouli, from Beirut’s Ras Al-Nabaa district, told Arab News. 

“We’ve had 15 years of civil war, then another war in 2006 with Israel, and assassinations throughout, but this is definitely Lebanon’s year from hell.”

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Lebanese have been living through an unprecedented financial and economic crisis in which the pound has lost more than 80 percent of its value in eight months, pushing up the price of imported goods by up to five times.

“The people are tired. We are all exhausted and drained from the never-ending bad news that continues to appear on our phones and social media,” said Samer Asmar, a Lebanese expatriate medical researcher in Arizona. 

“I haven’t been able to focus fully on anything since the protests began, and it’s been continuously downhill from there.”

Protesters denouncing the country’s political regime took to the streets on Oct. 17 last year, and they were there again on Tuesday demonstrating against constant power cuts. 

Electricity issues have plagued the country for years, with recent power cuts going on for up to 20 hours a day.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic this year accelerated the country’s economic collapse as scores of shops, restaurants and malls closed amid the lockdown.

“Lebanon is fighting a war on three levels: On the health level, on the political level, and now a war for their lives, wellbeing, and safety,” Nahouli said.


Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

Updated 26 October 2020

Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

  • NOC said it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day within two weeks

BENGHAZI: Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) said on Monday it had lifted force majeure on the El-Feel oilfield and that by doing so it had ended all the closures of oilfields and ports that resulted from an eight-month blockade by eastern forces.
NOC said on Friday it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) within two weeks and 1 million bpd within four weeks after lifting force majeure on the ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.
The blockade was imposed in January by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and ended in September when he agreed to reopen oil facilities after talks with members of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
NOC has been gradually lifting force majeure in facilities where fighters no longer remained and restarting production in them.
On Sunday a first tanker in eight months docked at Al-Zawiya port and began loading, an engineer there said, after force majeure was lifted last week on Sharara, Libya’s biggest oilfield.
Al-Waha Oil Co, an NOC company, also said on Sunday a first tanker was bound for Es Sider and may dock there early on Tuesday.
Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract, in this case NOC, from meeting its obligations.