LONDON: Hours of queues at gas stations in Britain have left Lebanese in the country reeling from an unpleasant deja vu as the UK found itself suffering similar problems to the crisis-riddled Middle Eastern nation.
Gas station pumps ran dry in major British cities on Monday and vendors rationed sales as a shortage of truckers strained supply chains to breaking point in the world’s fifth-largest economy.
“Fuel shortage in Lebanon, people queuing to buy gas. Left Lebanon, came to the UK. Fuel shortage in the UK, people queuing to buy gas. AM I CURSED?” Tweeted Ibrahim Abdallah.
A dire shortage of lorry drivers as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic recedes has sewn chaos throughout British supply chains in everything from food to fuel, raising the spectre of disruptions and price rises as Christmas looms.
Lebanese who left their home to live or study in the UK cannot help but feel as if their problems are not too far behind, with the country going into its second month of fuel crisis.
“Fuel shortages? Is this the UK or Lebanon?” wrote Amir.
Pumps across British cities were either closed or had signs saying fuel was unavailable on Monday, local media reported, with some limiting the amount of fuel each customer could buy.
“Long fuel queues in London have led to road blocking…I’m sure they do it just for me so I wouldn’t miss Lebanon much while I’m away!” wrote MidEast Correspondent for BBC World Service Nafiseh Kohnavard.
“On the weekend before my flight to Beirut: Fuel shortages causing queues at UK petrol stations, Bojo considering using army to supply petrol stations, 10 hour power outage in my building. Is the Universe training me for my stay in Lebanon?” Asked Yara.
Until recently, Lebanon had been subsidising the price of gasoline by providing dollars to importers from the central bank at heavily subsidised exchange rates.
Last week, a convoy of trucks carrying Iranian fuel oil entered northeastern Lebanon near the village of Al-Ain, where Hezbollah’s yellow flag fluttered from lampposts.
While such a sight will definitely not be seen around London’s Trafalgar Square, the county’s Lebanese diaspora has seen this fuel crisis hit too close to home.