Butane shortage eases in Cairo, persists in provinces

While the longstanding shortage of butane gas cylinders has begun to ease in Cairo and Giza, it has continued unabated in a number of provinces outside the capital.

In Daqahliya, clashes were reported between citizens jockeying for limited numbers of gas cylinders available at local distribution outlets. In Mansoura, meanwhile, the governor officially prohibited the sale of gas cylinders to informal street vendors or anyone other than licensed outlets.

In Ismailia, a truck carrying 36 gas cylinders caught fire, causing four cylinders to explode. No casualties were reported, although police ordered the area to be evacuated.

In Menoufiya, a young girl was admitted to hospital for concussion after being struck on the head by a cylinder during clashes outside a local distribution outlet. An outlet worker was reportedly arrested for his role in the incident.

In Kafr el-Sheikh, Supply Ministry officials resupplied local distribution outlets at night in hopes of averting clashes. In Damietta, more than 2000 cylinders were seized by authorities after being smuggled into adjacent provinces.

Nevertheless, black market prices for a single cylinder have fallen in most places from a high of LE70 to between LE20 and LE50. Cylinders are generally sold for between LE5 and LE10 each.

Commodity supply police, meanwhile, have reportedly intensified a campaign aimed at keeping coveted gas cylinders off the black market.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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