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Lebanon: UK withdraws embassy staff due to fuel shortages

Britain said it had to withdraw some non-essential staff due to Lebanon's fuel shortages affecting its operations
Lebanon's energy crisis is dragging people to unlikely places in their desperate quest for daily life's essentials (AFP)

Britain has been forced to temporarily withdraw embassy staff from Beirut due to Lebanon's fuel shortages and deteriorating economic situation. 

An alert on the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website confirmed the temporary withdrawal of some of its staff on Saturday because of the fuel crisis. 

"Due to a specific issue with the reliability of fuel supplies and impact of Embassy operations, we have temporarily reduced the numbers of non-essential staff and dependents," the FCDO confirmed in a statement to Middle East Eye. 

"We will keep this situation under review and return to full capacity at the appropriate time." 

Due to the country's economic crisis, electricity has now been reduced to two hours a day, forcing many to rely on fuel-powered generators to survive. 

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The further strain on fuel has meant hospitals and other essential services that rely on diesel-powered generators have been forced to shut or scale down. 

Many cafes, restaurants and stores have also been forced to close due to electricity and fuel shortages.  

Images posted online showed long queues of motorists waiting hours to get fuel. 

Empty cars whose drivers had gone home for some sleep but wanted to keep their spot in a petrol station queue clog the streets of Beirut. 

Traffic lights were switched off months ago, alongside street lamps and shop signs, due to the shortages.