Blackouts across Egypt stretch into sweltering summer

Blackouts across Egypt stretch into sweltering summer

 It is now a year since energy and foreign currency crises led Egypt's
government to institute planned blackouts known as "load shedding".
   But the measures have not been felt equally across the country.
   In the southern city of Aswan, where temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius
(122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the shade earlier this month, "the lights are out
for up to four hours a day, and with them the water", explained Tarek, a resident of
western Aswan. 
   "Especially in the villages, there's no schedule of any kind. Food is
spoiling in the fridge, people are getting heatstroke.” 

    A decade ago, Egypt faced similar power cuts, which helped fuel popular
discontent and protests against the short-lived presidency of the late
Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.
   The present-day blackouts come as Egyptians face the worst economic crisis
of their lives, with inflation and currency devaluations shredding savings and
leaving families struggling to make ends meet.
   Egypt's prime minister Mostafa Madbouly held a press conference in which he "expressed the government's apologies to citizens" and said Egyptians should expect three-hour outages to continue this week.
   The increased blackouts, he said, were due to a "gas field in a
neighboring country" which supplies natural gas to Egypt going "out of
service for over 12 hours". He did not name the country.
   The premier also said Egypt would spend $1.2 billion in July, 2.6 percent
of the crisis-hit country's precious foreign currency reserves, to shore up
its fuel supply.
   "We will be able to end power outages entirely for the summer by the third
week of July," Madbouly said, signaling that the outages would resume in the


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