BAGHDAD, 20 December (IRIN) - The Iraqi capital has been suffering from a power shortage for nearly a month, local people say.
<snip> Residents and shopkeepers say they have lost most of the food kept in refrigerators and complain that there is increasing insecurity due to blackouts, with power only available for two hours in the morning and sometimes only two hours at night.
Those who are lucky enough to have small generators say that they cannot produce enough electricity and that the price of fuel to run them is so high that they simply can't afford to run them.
"I have to go to buy food for my family every day and cannot store anything," Abbas di'Lemi, a resident of the Sadr city suburb of Baghdad, told IRIN.
"I don't have money to afford a generator and my family is going through a very difficult situation. The minister tells us that improvements are everywhere, but I cannot see them," di'Lemi added.
Pharmacists in the capital said that they too have suffered with the loss of many vital and expensive medicines that should be kept cool. Some medical centres which depend on generators also claim huge losses in vaccines. "It's really terrible. We are in need of vaccines and now the ones that we have should be thrown away," Dr Linda Muhammad, a paediatrician from the Yarmouk health centre, told IRIN.
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