Police in the town of Galle in southern Sri Lanka on Monday found a 43-year-old man ‘dead in the driver’s seat’ of his vehicle after he waited in a gas line ‘for hours’ in the middle serious fuel shortage in Sri Lanka, local newspaper News First reported. reported website.
“Police said the person arrived at the petrol station at around 3.30am this morning to buy diesel for a truck [sic]“, relayed News First on April 11.
“Police further said he was found dead in the driver’s seat after waiting in line for hours,” the newspaper added.
The man was the fifth person confirmed by Sri Lankan government authorities to have died ‘while queuing’ for fuel, food or medicine since the island nation’s latest financial crisis caused severe shortages of commodities in early March, News First reported on Monday.
While Galle Police did not reveal the exact cause of the 43-year-old’s death on April 11, other victims of Sri Lanka’s extremely long fuel lines died of apparent heat stroke after being forced to stand for hours in the scorching tropical island sun. A person was allegedly “murdered” by other queues on March 20 or 21 in the Sri Lankan town of Nittambuwa “due to an argument at the petrol station”, News First reported at the time.
“Police say a man was stabbed to death on Monday [March 21] during an argument with the driver of a three-wheeled vehicle, while last week three elderly men died while queuing to buy fuel in scorching heat,” Reuters reported on March 22. .
“Reports indicate that at least four elderly people have died while queuing for hours trying to buy cooking gas or kerosene,” the Associated Press observed on April 9.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Energy recently “requested assistance” from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Interior to monitor “fuel dispensing activities at petrol stations” across the country, the newspaper reported. local Ada Derana on April 10.
“[V]Various shortcomings and irregularities have been reported in the distribution of fuel to consumers from… petrol stations,” the Sri Lankan Ministry of Energy has acknowledged in recent days.
“As a result, the Department of Energy has instructed the State Department of the Interior to prepare a program to monitor fuel dispensing at gas stations through all District Secretaries and division”, relayed Sunday Ada Derana.
The media report only confirms the latest attempt by the Sri Lankan government to help distribute fuel to citizens, as the Sri Lankan army was already forced to deploy forces at gas stations in late March after poorly managed lines in facilities have become sources of frustration and even death.
“[A]At least two members of the army will be deployed at each fuel pump,” Sri Lankan armed forces spokesman Nilantha Premaratne told Reuters on March 22. He said the soldiers would help distribute fuel to gas consumers who wait in excessively long queues at hundreds of stations.
Ada Derana revealed on April 11 that “a large amount of diesel [fuel] …was wasted” earlier in the morning after an accident at Rambukkana railway station in Sri Lanka’s southern province.
The loss of diesel in fuel-starved Sri Lanka occurred after “an engineless passenger train which was parked at the railway station collided with a fuel train also parked at the station, apparently due to a defect in the brakes of the first,” detailed Ada Derana.
“Subsequently, the fuel train also collided with a building at Rambukkana station,” according to the outlet.
Sri Lankans have rallied against the country’s federal government – which many hold responsible for the financial turmoil behind continued shortages of fuel, food and medicine – since early March. Sporadic protests associated with long fuel lines have turned into a massive anti-government movement over the past month, with protests successfully pressuring nearly every cabinet member of Sri Lanka except President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, to resign at Mass on April 3.
Protests demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa intensified in Colombo on April 10, according to News First. The news site reported that anti-government protesters erected a tent city in a seaside park called Galle Face in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s national capital, over the weekend.
“The camp was set up on Saturday [April 9] night with only a few tents, and the number soared to more than two dozen on Sunday [April 10] night,” observed News First.
« Gota-Go-Gama [the name of the tent city] is like a small model village, it has all the basic requirements including free food, water, toilets and even a medical camp for health emergencies,” according to the news site.