Sri Lanka government warns fuel stocks about to run dry

Sri Lanka has less than a day’s worth of fuel left, the energy minister says, with public transport grinding to a halt as the country’s economic crisis deepens.

Sri Lanka Power and energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera on Sunday said fuel reserves were about 4,000 tonnes, just below one day’s worth of consumption, as queues snaked through the main city of Colombo for kilometres.

The cash-strapped nation on Sunday extended school closures because there is not enough fuel for teachers and parents to get children to classrooms, with most pumping stations being without fuel for days.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Al Jazeera last week the petrol shortage will last until July 22 when the next oil shipment is expected. He said a gas deal has been secured which will ensure supplies for the next four months.

“It [fuel shortage] is a big setback to the economy and has caused lot of hardship to people. When we came in, the shortage of dollars actually contributed to this situation. We have been taking steps since then especially to get gas which will be available in the next few days, diesel and furnace oil as well,” he said.

“The issue has been petrol … and that will take a bit of time. We are hoping to get shipment of petrol by July 22 but I have asked the [concerned] minister to try to get the shipment earlier.”

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