- Title: Double bill: Summer heatwave and fuel shortages leave citizens reeling in MENA
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: BASRA, IRAQ (AUGUST 21, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CLIMATE EXPERT AT BASRA UNIVERSITY, AHMED JASEM, SAYING: "This year, there are impacts that are becoming very clear. With the rising temperatures, the electricity shortages, and the problem of water salinity, all of these problems impact the human being. Especially because in Iraq, the weather is hot, and especially in the southern parts with rising temperatures and rising air humidity, this impacted the human being at a mental and physical level. It also causes a number of illnesses including fatigue, all this impact the human being." DOZENS OF ELECTRICITY WIRES INTERTWINED AROUND POLE BAGHDAD, IRAQ (AUGUST 18, 2021) (REUTERS) MAN WALKING IN NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH ELECTRICITY WIRES STRETCHING BETWEEN POLES MAN WALKING IN STREET WITH DOZENS OF ELECTRICITY WIRES HANGING LOW FROM POLES VARIOUS OF INTERTWINED ELECTRICITY WIRES HANGING MAN SWITCHING ON LARGE GENERATOR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAN PROVIDING GENERATOR SERVICES IN BAGHDAD, MOHAMMED ABBAS, SAYING: "The preparedness of state-provided electricity is zero. When temperatures rise, it is really bad. In one day, we had the generator working 14 hours in a row once the state-provided services are down. All of this is harmful and the people have the right to be angry, when they come and are annoyed. It is a lot of pressure, on people and on us." VARIOUS OF GENERATOR IN STREET MAN WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAN PROVIDING GENERATOR SERVICES IN BAGHDAD, MOHAMMED ABBAS, SAYING: "We suffer first of all from the blackouts. In addition to the price hike of the generators' spare parts, because of the increase of the price of the (U.S.) dollar and gas. We suffered a lot this summer, and each time we say 'hopefully this summer will be better', and then the summer turns out to be worse than the previous one." MISRATA, LIBYA (AUGUST 16, 2021) (REUTERS) YOUNG BOYS SWIMMING IN SEA VARIOUS OF BOYS RUNNING AND JUMPING INTO SEA MAN IN SEA WITH CHILDREN MAN SWIMMING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LIBYAN CITIZEN, MARIE, SAYING: "There's hardships everywhere, we come to the beach for a bit and then go home, but then what? What will we do then? It's the same problem, you need to power your house because there is no electricity. Everything needs electricity and these days with the high temperatures and the current situation, life is just so hard and very boring, we don't even know how to handle our children." MISRATA, LIBYA (AUGUST 17, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF GENERATORS BEING USED TO POWER SHOPS VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN PLAYGROUND IN THE DARK VARIOUS OF CARS ON DARK ROAD PEOPLE SITTING ON SIDEWALK ILLUMINATED BY FLASHLIGHT / LIGHT GOES OFF
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 16:11
- Keywords: Blakouts Electricity Shortage Heat Wave Iraq Lebanon Libya Middle East North Africa Power Cuts Sudan
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON / KHARTOUM, SUDAN / BASRA AND BAGHDAD, IRAQ / MISRATA, LIBYA
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON / KHARTOUM, SUDAN / BASRA AND BAGHDAD, IRAQ / MISRATA, LIBYA
- Country: Various
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA005ERI3KGL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In July, when a heatwave tore through countries around the world causing wildfires and record high temperatures, the Middle East, a region already grappling with recurring electricity crises and where temperatures reached up to 55 degrees Celsius this year, was left with limited options.
Fuel or power shortages caused by economic and political instability in Libya, Iraq, Sudan, and Lebanon meant citizens not only had to deal with rising temperatures but also with finding alternatives to power generation to fuel their cars and homes.
In Sudan, students studying for end of year exams back in June had no other option than to use candlelight when power shortages were at their peak.
Libyans dealing with the heat wave cooled off in the Mediterranean as power cuts sometimes reached up to 18 hours a day and many couldn't afford a generator.
Iraq, where people often blame the government for failing to develop its own power grid, partly relies on energy imports from Iran. A period of reduced power supplies from Iran in July and an ongoing series of attacks on power lines by militants have compounded the electricity crisis this year.
Lebanon's multiple crises means that fuel oil used to power much of the country has also nearly run out, leading to lengthy blackouts taking their toll on civilians, businesses and hospitals.
According to a recent report by the United Nations' IPCC, temperature rise would still bring many problems, including food shortages, extreme heat, forest fires, sea level rise, a potential "refugee crisis" and negative impacts for the global economy and biodiversity.
As the world rushes to limit carbon emissions and achieve their climate goals, civilians in the MENA region just want to get through summer. Even as the heatwave has come and gone, parts of the region still suffer from blackouts.
"Every year we say this summer will be better, then the summer comes and it's worse than the last," said Mohammed Abbas who provides generator services in Baghdad.
(Production: Mohamed Noureldin, Ayman Sahely, Mohammed Aty, Haider Kadhim, Charlotte Bruneau, Seham Eloraby)
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