Electrical grid in Yemen’s interim capital goes dark, placing patients at greater risk

The electricity power network in Aden shut down at dawn on Saturday, as residents in Yemen’s interim capital face a number of epidemics and heightened tensions between the Yemeni government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC).

The electricity system went out of service due to a “technical glitch,” a source at the General Electricity Corporation in Aden told Almasdar Online. The Electricity Corporation employee said that a maintenance team is trying to fix the problem, but it will take a “lot of time” to return the power supply.

The blackout has hit hospitals and other health care centers especially hard, and without electricity to operate and maintain life-saving equipment, dozens of patients in Aden are at risk of dying, a medical source in Aden told Almasdar Online. 

People suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease are in particular at risk due to prolonged power outages, the source said, explaining that amid the hot temperatures in Aden, in the last couple days many such individuals are likely to already be among the dead.

Moreover, most low-income families in the city do not have alternative means such as solar energy or fuel-powered generators to maintain a moderate temperature and safe environment for at-risk individuals.

About two months ago, electricity service in the southern coastal city was reduced significantly as a result of fuel shortages, and the Electricity Corporation resorted to purchasing emergency fuel. However, the situation has continued to deteriorate and in recent days the electricity service had reduced to its lowest coverage, alternating between about two-and-a-half hours of electricity supply and four hours of being shut off.

As a result of increased pressure on power infrastructure and the decrease in the fuel being allocated to power plants in Aden, the Electricity Corporation source said that in the coming days the electricity grid may be unable to operate at all.

The power outage on Saturday prompted scores of residents in Aden to demonstrate on that evening in Al-Tawahi, Khormaksar and Al-Mualla districts against the deterioration of basic services and the growing frequency of power outages. 

The protesters carried banners calling for better electricity services and various slogans blaming the Saudi-led coalition, the STC, and Yemeni government for the deterioration in public service delivery in the interim capital.

Another medical source confirmed to Almasdar Online that two people died in the quarantine center at Al-Jumhuriya (Republic) hospital, in eastern Aden. The power outage, combined with the high temperatures in the city, were believed to have contributed to the deaths.



Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani



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