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Iraqis protest against third consecutive day of power cuts amid extreme heat

August 9, 2022 at 8:47 am

People cool off at Tigris River during hot weather in Baghdad, Iraq on August 04, 2022. [Murtadha Al-Sudani – Anadolu Agency]

Iraqis have taken to the streets to protest against power cuts for the third consecutive day, as temperatures across the country exceeded 50°C.

Protests broke out in southern Iraq today, with the city of Basra seeing protestors block roads and burn tyres as they demand authorities resolve the blackouts and power cuts.

The cuts in southern Iraq were reportedly caused by the failure of a power line and a fire at a power plant, with Basra’s Governor Asaad Al-Eidani saying that this third consecutive cut was “due to a fire at Khor Al Zubayr station”, which produces up to 500 megawatts (MW) of the city’s 3,000MW electricity demand.

According to media reports, power was restored to some districts of the port city by yesterday afternoon, with Al-Eidani saying the fire was extinguished and the damage was repaired.

Protestors also attempted to storm one of Basra’s largest power plants and further demonstrations were held in the neighbouring Maysan province.

READ: Iraqi provinces suspend work in government offices due to extreme heat

The protestors’ rage also comes after Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity announced a state of “general alert” last week, as temperatures began to rise to their current levels of above 50°C.

Iraq has long relied on neighbouring Iran for almost a third of its electricity, especially in the summer months. That has recently been changing, however, as Iraq was forced to cut electricity supplies two months ago after Iran reduced its gas deliveries to the country.

Since then, Baghdad has attempted to resolve the shortage and its dependency on Tehran by investing more heavily into its own gas fields and supplies. Last week, Qatar signed an agreement to connect the Gulf region’s electricity to southern Iraq’s electricity network, joining other Gulf states like Saudi Arabia in assisting their northern neighbour in the provision of energy supplies.

READ: As the West commits energy suicide in its green transition, it exploits the Gulf