Lengthy power outages see life grind to a halt in Nile Delta town

Esraa Qandil , Monday 18 Aug 2014

Power cuts in Kafr Hilal are threatening the livelihoods of residents

A supermarket seller stands near an emergency light during power outages at his shop in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

A small town in Egypt's Nile Delta region was hit by a 12-hour-long power cut from midnight on Sunday until noon on Monday, as the country's power crisis continues to bite.

In a report published by Al-Ahram Arabic news website, locals from Kafr Hilal in Menoufiya governorate expressed their discontent with the electricity cuts.

"This will cause problems. The factory stops working for hours because of the power cut, and we have commitments, orders that needs to be sent, installments that need to be paid and workers that need their wages," said Ibrahim Issam, the owner of a textile factory located in Kafr Hilal.

If the situation doesn't change, he says, the factory will soon close down

The town is home to around 25 textile factories, securing jobs for thousands of young people.

Ashraf Ahmed, the owner of a local grocery shop, says his work has been negatively affected as many of his refrigerated goods have gone off.

Boshra Qandil, a housewife, also complained of an increase in financial burdens because continuous power cuts have caused food in her fridge to go bad.

Local paediatrician Shaima Khatib says that after a 24-hour shift she goes home and she is unable to sleep because of the heat.

"I go home to rest and to clean the house and I can't sleep from the heat. I can't do the chores because of the power cut," she said.

Egypt's electricity crisis has worsened in recent months due to hot summer weather and fuel shortages.

Electricity cuts in households can last from between 5 to 9 hours per day, according to a separate report by Al-Ahram daily.

At a press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said that the electricity problem was due to several factors, including lack of maintenance of power stations. Shortage of natural gas is also a factor, as fewer gas fields have been discovered over the past years that had been expected.

Mahlab also claimed that over the past month there have been 300 sabotage attacks on electricity pylons, affecting electricity generation by about 15 to 20 per cent. The police have said that "terrorist cells" connected with the Muslim Brotherhood are responsible for the sabotage.


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