Sparks fly over Sharjah outage

SHARJAH — Misery rained on Sharjah residents with power supply disrupted for the third straight day on Wednesday.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Thu 22 Jul 2010, 8:39 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

Sweaty frustration mounted for many in the blazing summer heat when homes went dark, traffic signals went dead, businesses suffered, ATMs froze, banks closed early and government departments were hit. Despite the chaos in homes and on the roads, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) maintained a deafening silence.

Motorists thronged fuel stations to keep their vehicles running as there was no electricity at home. The resulting snarls on the many streets began at 9am when the traffic lights blacked out. Soon, tailbacks became the norm, snaking into the distance.

With darkness and desperation taking hold, many rushed to homes of friends and relatives in neighbouring emirates, while others spent the night at hotels and in cars.

Families with children flocked to malls during the day, while less fortunate labourers spent the night on pavements, parks and roadside lawns, or wherever they could rest their tired heads.

Even the Sharjah Police Headquarters and other government departments like the civil defence and municipality offices went without power for hours. Most commercial establishments and banks closed early and employees were seen making their weary way home.

Civil Defence officials said they had to rescue more than 38 children and adults trapped in building elevators. The elderly were carried by their children from high-rise buildings, while working mothers had to stay at home to look after their children.

Residents demanded that authorities inform them of planned power cuts. “We are used to load shedding during power shortages in our countries. But it is scheduled and announced and people prepare and accept it. The Sharjah authorities should announce the schedule so that people can plan their day and procure essentials,” said Saju Kiran, an engineer. “We know there is a shortage and this will keep happening. People are adjusting to it, but it is difficult when it happens suddenly or for long hours. The authorities should issue a schedule of power cuts, naming the areas that will be affected, along with timings and duration,” said an upset Tariq Amin.

Power woes began as early at 7am in some areas on Wednesday, while other parts went without lights at 9am and 11am. The worst affected areas were Al Rolla, Al Nabbaa, Al Buteena, Al Qasimiya, Abu Shagara, Al Ghuwair and most industrial areas. At the time of going to press, residents of Industrial Areas 1, 13, 10, and 17 were still waiting for supply to be restored after it went off at 11am.

Residents of Industrial Area No 1 told Khaleej Times that they managed to reach the SEWA hotline after dialling for many hours. But, alas, their disappointment turned to rage when they were told by an official to move to another area to avoid being affected every year by power outage.

Fahda Al Shuhail, head of Consumer Protection, Sharjah Municipality, said officials had stepped up inspection campaigns to ensure the quality of foodstuff sold during power outages.

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