Lebanon is in contact with Turkey and Egypt to transfer those seriously injured in the fuel tanker explosion for medical treatment, the country’s High Relief Commission said on Sunday, reports Anadolu Agency.
At least 22 people were killed and 79 others injured when a fuel tanker exploded in Akkar region in northern Lebanon early Sunday.
“We are in contact with Turkey and Egypt to transfer those seriously injured in the blast for treatment,” the commission’s secretary-general, Mohammed Khair, said in statements cited by the official Lebanese news agency.
He appealed to international organisations working in Lebanon to provide hospitals with necessary medical equipment for treating the injured.
According to the official Lebanese news agency, rescuers were still searching for missing people following the blast, whose circumstances remain unclear.Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said the tanker explosion was the result of the exploiters of the country’s fuel crisis. Lebanon is facing a severe economic crisis, with the local currency losing nearly all of its value against the dollar, and streets witnessing massive protests and rallies.
On Wednesday, the country’s central bank halted fuel subsidies that have drained the country’s foreign reserves.
A foreign currency shortage and devaluation of the currency have caused the central bank’s dollar reserves to dwindle from an average of $38 billion at the end of 2019 to its current average of $16 billion.
Observers say lifting fuel subsidies would raise the prices of other goods and services that depend on fuel to generate electricity for production such as factories and private bakeries.