Diesel shortage claims first fatality

Shortages of diesel fuel and gasoline continued for the third consecutive day in Cairo and the governorates. The crisis claimed its first fatality on Tuesday in Sharqiya, where a local resident was reportedly killed in a fight with his relatives over who would be first to fill up their tractors.

Entrances and exits of the capital continued to be jammed with trucks and buses parked on both sides of the road for lack of fuel.

Although the government claims to have supplied gas stations in Cairo and Giza with extra quantities of fuel, some gas stations have raised diesel prices from LE110 to LE150 per liter.

In Fayoum, gas station managers complained that they had received only 20 percent of their usual allotments. Local bakeries that rely on diesel to fuel their ovens, meanwhile, were forced to temporarily close.

In Gharbiya, taxi drivers raised fares as a result of the ongoing shortage.

In Qalyubiya, cars lined up outside gas stations, with a number of fights breaking out between drivers over the limited quantities available.

All highways nationwide–from Alexandria to Aswan–were congested with cars, trucks and buses that had run out of gas.

The governor of Minya is reportedly holding daily meetings with fuel supply officials and heads of local councils in an effort to resolve the crisis.

"I’ve been waiting here for three hours to get a few liters of diesel," said Mohamed el-Dessouqi, a taxi driver from Menoufiya.

But Ezzat Hamza, Supply Ministry undersecretary for Menoufiya, denied the existence of local shortages. "Demand has increased due to the current harvest season," he said, "and gas station owners are hoarding fuel in order to sell it on the black market at higher prices."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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