(Update 1: updates death toll, adds info)
Beirut, Aug 15 (EFE).- The death toll from the explosion of a fuel tank on Sunday in a district of the Akkar region, in northern Lebanon, increased to 28 deaths, while 79 people are injured, according to a military source.
The source, who wishes to remain anonymous, added that deaths could continue to increase in the coming hours due to the critical condition of some of the injured.
According to a statement by the Lebanese army, the fuel tank exploded at around 2am local time (11pm UTC) in a gravel storage site.
The tank had been confiscated by the army, which was handing out its contents to residents when the explosion took place.
The cause of the explosion is not known.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for the resignation of President Michel Aoun.
“The Akkar massacre is no different from the port massacre,” he said on Twitter, in reference to the explosion a year ago in Beirut.
On Aug. 4, 2020, more than 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded at Beirut’s port, leaving more than 200 dead, over 6,500 injured and half of the capital destroyed.
“If this was a country that respects its people, its officials would resign, from the president to the very last person responsible for this neglect,” he added.
The Lebanese military said on Saturday that it had seized thousands of liters of gasoline and diesel that distributors were stockpiling in tanks across the country.
These raids came after Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh said a few days ago that the bank could not continue subsidizing fuel imports and lifted the fuel subsidy.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center warned in a statement on Saturday that it “is facing imminent disaster due to the threat of a forced shutdown starting the morning of this coming Monday August 16, as a result of fuel shortages.”
Rising prices and shortages of fuel have a direct impact on the supply of electricity to the Lebanese population.
For weeks, the Lebanese state power company has only provided a maximum of two hours of power a day, while other energy providers, which use private generators, ration power due to the shortage of diesel to run them and hike prices disproportionately for every slight increase.
The Lebanese people are facing serious problems in storing food, working remotely and enduring the temperatures of the hottest month of the year, while the lack of power supply is also affecting industrial production, the operation of hospitals and schools, and even road safety. EFE