Man Found Dead in Car after Long Wait for Gasoline in Sri Lanka


    “Police said that the person had arrived at the filling station around 3.30 AM this morning to purchase Diesel for a Lorry [sic],” News First relayed on April 11.

    “Police further said he was found dead in the driver's seat after waiting in line for hours,” according to the report.

    The man was the fifth identified to be dead by Sri Lankan government authorities who passed away “while waiting in a line” to purchase fuel, food or medical supplies in the wake of the nation's most recent financial crisis which led to massive shortages of basic supplies in March of this year, News First revealed on Monday.

    Although Galle police have not revealed the cause of death of the man on April 11, different people who have died due to Sri Lanka's lengthy fuel lines passed away from apparent heat stroke from the scorching heat. One person was believed to have been ” murdered” by queuers who were waiting for him on the 20th or 21st in Nittambuwa “due to an argument in the filling station,” News First reported at the time.

    “Police said a man was stabbed to death on Monday [March 21] in an argument with the driver of a three-wheeled vehicle, while last week three elderly men died while queueing to buy fuel in sweltering heat,” Reuters published on March 22nd.

    “Reports said that at least four elderly people have died while standing in lines for hours trying to buy cooking gas or kerosene oil,” the Associated Press observed on April 9.

    The Sri Lankan Ministry of Energy recently “requested assistance” from Sri Lanka's State Ministry of Home Affairs to supervise “fuel distribution activities at petrol stations” throughout the country, local news site Ada Derana reported on April 10.

    “[V]arious shortcomings and irregularities have been reported in the distribution of fuel to consumers from … fuel stations,” Sri Lanka's Energy Ministry acknowledged in recent days.

    “Accordingly, the Ministry of Energy has informed the State Ministry of Home Affairs to prepare a program to monitor the distribution of fuel through filling stations through all District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries,” Ada Derana relayed on Sunday.

    The report from the news media is merely the latest effort by the Sri Lankan government to aid in the distribution of fuel to its residents, since the military of Sri Lanka was required to send troops to gas stations at the end of March when unmanaged lines at the stations caused a lot of frustration and even death.

    “[A]t least two army personnel will be deployed at every fuel pump,” Sri Lankan Armed Forces spokesman Nilantha Premaratne said to Reuters on the 22nd of March. He also stated that the soldiers will help with the distribution of fuel to gas customers who are waiting in long lines at many stations.

    Ada Derana revealed on April 11 that ” a large quantity of diesel [fuel] … was wasted” earlier in the day following an accident at the Rambukkana Railway Station in Sri Lanka's Southern Province.

    The accident  took place after “a passenger transport train with no engine driver which had been parked at the railway station had collided with a fuel train also parked at the station, reportedly due to a fault in the brakes of the former,” Ada Derana detailed.

    “Subsequently the fuel train had also collided with a building at the Rambukkana railway station,” according to the media outlet.

    The people of Sri Lanka have been rallying against the federal government-that many blame for the financial turmoil that is the root of Sri Lanka's constant food, fuel and medicine shortages since the beginning of March. Protests in the form of scattered demonstrations linked to the long fuel lines have turned into a massive anti-government campaign during the past month, with protests being successful in pushing almost all Members of Sri Lanka's Cabinet, except for the president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother the PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, to quit on the 3rd of April.

    Protests calling for President Rajapaksa to quit were on the rise in Colombo on April 10, as per News First. The news website stated that protesters opposed to the government set up an unofficial city tent in a beachfront park known as Galle Face in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, during the weekend.

    “The camp was set up on Saturday [April 9] night with just a few tents, and the number shot up to over two dozen on Sunday [April 10] night,” News First noted.

    “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 makeshift medical camp for health emergencies,” according to the news site.


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