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Power outage hits Egypt subway, TV stations
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt suffered a massive power outage that halted parts of the Cairo subway, took TV stations off the air and ground much of the country to a halt for several hours Thursday, as officials offered no clear explanation for how the country suddenly lost 50 percent of its power generation.
The blackout came barely three months after Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former army chief, was elected president on promises to restore order after three years of turmoil following the 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The government’s inability to pay for enough imported fuel, debts to foreign oil companies, and old and poorly maintained equipment have all contributed to a monthslong power crisis in which rolling blackouts have plunged entire neighborhoods into darkness for several hours a day.
The government had recently promised to restore electricity by the end of the year, partially blaming the outages on saboteurs. Over the past week there had been a noticeable reduction in the power cuts, coinciding with slightly cooler weather after a scorching August.
But the mass outage on Thursday was far more severe and wide-ranging than any of the previous cuts.
The outage happened suddenly at 6 a.m., causing paralysis in many areas across the country including the Nile Delta and southern provinces. Nearly 12 hours later, electricity officials said they had restored 85 percent of the lost power.
According to officials in the central and southern provinces of Assiut, Minya, and Sohag, hospitals suffered during the outages, which left dialysis machines, X-ray machines and operation rooms out of service.
Local TV networks showed metro stations packed with commuters after trains stopped. The spokesman for the city’s metro system, Ahmed Abdel-Hadi, said the trains connecting Cairo’s southern suburbs to downtown were halted.