AL-ARISH: North Sinai suffered a shortage in car fuel for the second time, paralyzing activities in the governorate and prompting residents of Sheikh Zowayed to block Al-Arish International Road.
All transportation services have been stalled as some of the microbus drivers increased the fare to cover the increased costs of buying fuel from the black market.
Trucks stopped delivering goods to shop keepers and taxi drivers cannot pay off their monthly car loan installments.
Residents demanded in creasing gas supplies and the implementation of serious measures to prevent smuggling gas to Gaza through the tunnels.
Dealers have been illegally supplying fuel to smugglers in the Sinai desert at a profit amid complete silence from security forces, say complaining residents angered by the delivery of subsidized gas to Gaza while Egypt is suffering a crippling shortage.
Activist Mohammed Khatabi believes that opening the Rafah border will facilitate the legal fuel trade at affordable prices and stem the smuggling.
The fuel crisis dates back one year when Sinai’s share of subsidized gas was smuggled to Gaza. Residents say that security only intervened to prevent the smuggling when they staged protests and blocked the roads.
Head of the Consumer Supplies Administration Office in North Sinai Fathi Abo Hemda said that Sinai’s gas supplies are the highest in Egypt, according to statistics from the Ministry of Petroleum and petroleum companies.
He added that it is “unknown” how such large quantities are consumed given the small population of Sinai, but promised that the crisis will be resolved within 24 hours.