Constant and daily power blackouts in Cairo not only make it difficult for people to go on with day-to-day routines, it can be deadly for people undergoing surgery. Egypt, while rich in natural gas and sunlight is a poor energy manager and for this its people experience hours of blackouts each and every day. This photo of surgery in a Cairo hospital above shows how doctors have to cope.
The doctor that was performing the surgery of a hysterectomy in the above photo at a Suez Canel area hospital decided to post the photo to Facebook to show the world the kind of conditions that he has to work within. This was during a day with an estimated 20 hours of blackouts. In summer months when people want to run air conditioners the blackouts can be especially punishing. Many hospitals are not able to afford generators which cost about $1500 so when the power goes out so do respirators for life support and the life sustaining environments needed to keep premature babies alive.
There are regular reports of doctors being investigated for performing surgery under cell phone light.
Some locals are removing loved ones from hospitals feeling that they could probably take better care of their family if they are brought home.
With a surge of new technologies on the market to drive down the cost of renewable energy it is astonishing how little green power is being produced in Egypt. Some people blame the power outs on the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that they are wiping out power pylons as sabotage, but the problem is much bigger – including the fact that they are an estimated 200,000 housing units in the Cairo area built without permits and which may be connecting illegally to the grid.
Some solutions? The Egyptian solar energy company KarmSolar, which has declined interviews with Green Prophet is producing a solar energy water pump solution. There is the Luxor solar energy plant at a mere 160 kW that went online this year; the 150 MW Kuraymat station that Green Prophet visited , and of course a lot of good solar energy intentions worth a billion.
Still, locals must get on with their lives and lack of power. Egyptians still use very polluting mazut oil for cooking and heavy oil for running power plants. Locals have been warned that this instability in power will continue for at least another four years. If young internationals want to help Egypt rise out of its Arab Spring, I suggest helping them get involved in alternative energy projects. Hydroponic rooftop farming, like this project, is a small but important way to lift the city’s air quality and power needs.