Douala residents woke up to a city in disarray as long queues formed at petrol stations because of the fuel crisis that is leaving commuters stranded and businesses grappling with disruptions.
The sudden fuel shortage has not only impeded transportation but has also cast a shadow over daily activities for many in Cameroon’s economic capital.
The root cause of the fuel shortage remains elusive, adding to the frustration and inconvenience residents are experiencing.
With limited public transportation options available, workers faced a daunting challenge as they attempted to reach their workplaces, only to find long queues and scarce availability of bikes and taxis.
“I have been waiting for over an hour,” lamented one resident, clutching his briefcase.
“I usually take a taxi to work, but there are none available today. I’m going to be late for work.”
The fuel shortage has led to inflated prices for private transportation, with some residents compelled to pay double their usual fare.
The strain on commuters has raised concerns about the economic impact of the fuel scarcity, as increased transportation costs and delays affect both workers and businesses.
“I had to pay 2,000 CFA francs to get to work today,” said a frustrated young woman.
“That’s twice my normal fare. This is really unfair.”
Businesses, too, are feeling the repercussions of the fuel shortage. Operations are being disrupted, and productivity losses are accumulating as employees struggle to reach their workplaces.
“We have lost several hours of productivity today,” the manager of a local shop.
“We are hoping that the situation will be resolved soon.”
The crisis, which began over the weekend, initially seemed like a one-day issue but has since escalated into a more serious problem.
The fuel shortage compounds existing challenges, including electricity instability, further exacerbating the difficulties residents and businesses face.
Bike riders, a crucial component of Douala’s transportation network, find themselves severely affected by the crisis.
“It’s been two days now I have not been able to work. I had to park my bike since Saturday and have been walking from one petrol station to the other looking for fuel, which is unavailable. This is really affecting our job as bike riders,” explained Jean Ngobeck, a bike rider in Douala.
As Cameroonians speculated on the exact cause of the fuel shortage, the government offered an explanation, citing supply disruptions.
“This disruption is mainly due to a delay in the arrival of three vessels transporting the said product, caused by unfavourable weather and sea conditions which interrupted the ship-to-ship loading of these vessels for four days at the hub port of Lomé,” a release signed by the Minister of Water and Energy stated.
“Currently, one of the ships is already docked in Douala with 13,000 m3 of Super,” the release added.
The government has also ordered the circulation of 81 tanker trucks of fuel, which it says will resolve the crisis by Tuesday, December 12.