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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 08:10 AM
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!n Iraq, another summer of power shortages
Desperate residents of Baghdad cool off using ice, computer fans and even their cars.

In Iraq, another summer of power shortages
By Alexandra Zavis, Times Staff Writer
August 14, 2007

BAGHDAD When the power fails and there is no gas for the generator, Mohammed Azzawi has a plan to make it through the stifling summer nights. He collects the fans from old computer hard drives and powers them with backup batteries.

Faced with their fifth summer without a regular supply of electricity, Baghdad residents have come up with some novel ways to cool off.

Decades of corruption, neglect and war have left Iraq's electricity grid on the verge of collapse. Iraq is generating enough power to meet only half the nationwide demand, and most Baghdad residents are down to an hour or two of electricity a day. The shortfalls are the worst since U.S.-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, Electricity Ministry spokesman Aziz Shimari said.

The unreliable electricity supply is a source of constant frustration to Iraqis, who cite it as one of the biggest failings of the U.S.-led invasion. The constant blackouts become unbearable during the summer, when the mercury climbs to between 110 and 120 degrees.

Only the lucky few who live near essential services, such as hospitals and water treatment plants, receive nearly continuous power. The rest improvise.

Those who can afford it have generators. But with fuel in short supply and costing about $4 a gallon on the black market, many families can keep them on only a few hours a day.


uhc note: I wrote about this on July 27.
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