Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Libyan Citizens Fall back on Coal, Wood for Warmth in Tripoli | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government fire a rocket at Islamic State fighters in Sirte, Libya.

REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Tripoli- Libya faces today a grand-scale power shortage, as its capital Tripoli drowns in darkness, many citizens resort to primitive ways for heat, light and daily activities. Charcoal and wood have been used to compensate for the 77 percent deficiency that the overall power network suffers.

Incessant bombardment and attacks by militias have led to the dramatic power outages. With the advent of freezing wave of cold in Libya, the citizens of the country are suffering currently from a new type of crisis, which is the struggle to keep themselves and their children warm.

The prices of charcoal and raw combustibles have spiked by two fold, going from a minimum price range of 15 Libyan Dinars to a 25 Libyan Dinars, and a peak range of 50 Libyan Dinars to 130 Libyan Dinars.

As for the standard pack of wood planks, used for cooking meals, it opens with a price of 30 Libyan Dinars and increases according to type.

Day by day, incoming yelps for help tells Libyan media that at such dire times charcoal is becoming a scarce commodity which threatens an eventual cessation of supply.

What is more is that cases of death by asphyxia caused by excess charcoal usage have been reported, Libyan Parliament Member Ismail al-Ghoul al-Sharif said.

“Space heating by charcoal has led to the lethal suffocation of citizens,” Sharif told Ahsraq Al-Awsat. Sources had reported that a family of nine was killed by carbon monoxide gas poisoning after using coal to keep warm in their closed house.

According to military and intelligence officers, power outages are chiefly caused by militias repeatedly targeting power stations in an effort to put the internationally-backed administration of Fayez al-Sarraj.

Even more, incidents of looting station equipment have been recorded. Militias also exploited pitch black nights to sneak in foreign combatants via coastlines and desert areas into the war-torn country.

Tripoli residents have added that power is provided a few hours per day, not enough to get much going.