When the lights go out…
The dull hum of the diesel generators has become like an old friend too many of Sana’s residents in the past year, easing them to sleep or keeping them company during the day.
Since last year’s revolution, the capital’s power supply has at the best of times been unpredictable, and at worst non-existent. Many of the city’s residents receive four or less hours of power a day.
The cause of the frequent outages is fiercely debated on street corners across Sana’a. The Electricity Minister Saleh Sumaia has directly accused deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh of using his militias to target the country’s power lines Yemen.
While the former president’s role in the frequent power outages remains unclear, the systematic sabotage of the main Marib-Sanaa power line has caused an estimated $13 million in power lines repair since the beginning of 2012 and caused further damage to the capital’s already stricken economy.
In the south of the country the frequent power outages are having more serious consequences. The lack of power for mosquito fighting fans and air conditioning units has caused a surge in Dengue fever, leaving hundreds in a critical condition. In Hodeida the Public Health Office has said that 10 people from different districts in the governorate have died of the disease.
Back in the highlands, Sanaani’s have tried to continue life as normally as possible, running their businesses by gas lanterns and illuminating their wedding parties with flares and fireworks. Even the metal workers of the old city’s souqs continue to work away in the pitch black of their cavernous workshops and I saw an opportunity to show a little bit of the humanity which oozes out of every corner of the city at night.