Man dies in fuel queue in Sri Lanka for 5 days
Colombo: A 63-year-old truck driver in Sri Lanka died after standing in line for five days at a gas-filling station in the country’s Western Province on Thursday. According to a media report, this is the 10th death due to waiting in queues for days to purchase fuel in the debt-ridden island nation. Police said the said man was found dead inside his vehicle after waiting in a queue at the filling station in Angurwatota.
The death toll of people waiting in fuel queues is also increasing,
The country is facing long queues to refuel at gas stations as the government finds it difficult to finance fuel imports to maintain sufficient reserves for at least three months. A move to ration fuel is to be implemented from next month as the foreign exchange crisis worsens.
In the midst of this crisis, the death toll of people standing in long queues for several days is increasing. The death toll in the queues has now gone up to 10 and all the victims are males in the age group of 43 to 84 years. The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that most of the deaths in the queue were due to cardiac arrest.
A week ago, a 53-year-old man died while waiting in a queue for several hours at a fuel station in Panadura, Colombo. It is being told that the person died of a heart attack while waiting in the queue in a three-wheeler.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis:
Sri Lanka, home to around 22 million, is currently facing its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. Sri Lanka’s economy is facing extreme fuel shortages, rising food prices and a shortage of medicines.
The nearly bankrupt country, coupled with an acute foreign exchange crisis that resulted in foreign debt defaults, announced in April that it would raise foreign debt of about USD 7 billion for the year out of about USD 25 billion due by 2026. suspending repayment. The total external debt is US$51 billion.
Measures taken to tackle the fuel crisis:
The current shortage was made worse by the government’s inability to open letters of credit to the government-owned Bank of Ceylon for fuel imports. As a measure to tackle the fuel shortage and the resultant transportation difficulties, the Government has taken the following measures to deal with the crisis:
- The Ministry of Public Administration said in a circular that state sector employees are allowed to treat Fridays as holidays with effect from June 17. This will be applicable for the next three months.
- A special holiday was given in all the schools on Friday due to traffic problems. Privately owned bus operators said that they are doing only 20 per cent of the services due to fuel shortage.
In addition, state employees are encouraged to engage in agricultural activities during the Friday holiday as a measure to mitigate the ensuing food crisis.
In an unusual move, envoys from the United States and the United Nations on Sunday urged Sri Lankan security forces to understand the frustration of civilians spending hours in long lines for essential items, and to avoid any excessive use of force immediately. Emphasized the need for investigation. against the public. The appeals of the two envoys came a day after clashes broke out between people queuing for fuel and army personnel at Vishwamadu, Mullatheevu.