Thursday, August 04, 2005

Heat & Electricity

It is so hot, since it is summer. Here in Iraq, temperature reaches degrees which non-Iraqis could not imagine. Yesterday I took a thermometer and put it in the direct sun. It astonishingly rose passing the scale marks. It seems that the manufacturer do not imagine heat on the globe my go up more than fifty degrees centigrade (122 Fahrenheit), so the scale ends at 52 C. I think no one of you believe that the thermometer went up above 60 C (140 F). Such heat drives human being to insanity. Water & electricity become essential, but there is a tragic shortage in both. Nowadays, electricity is supplied less than four hours per day. One can imagine life without cold water or air-conditioning systems.

Electricity plays great role in everyday life, especially in work. Thousands of workers have nothing to do but waiting for electricity to run their businesses for an hour. Local generators spread widely as an alternative. Still, these generators, causing lot of noise, can not substitute the national grid. Using local generators means a significant increment in fuel demand, which causes very long queues at gas stations. Queuing up for hours under the burning sun turns any person crazy. Fuel shortage leads to black market. Owners of local generators increase the charges, which leads to many quarrels between them and the consumers. It is normal to use guns in such incidents. In one of these quarrels a son of the generator owner was killed, in another a grenade was used to blow up the generator and so forth. Even the local generators can not run endless time under hot temperature, so the owners switch them off to cool the engines. This requires small generators in every house to fill the gap. And more fuel, engine oil, maintenance is required; more noise is produced.

A "
Report to Congress Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" (pdf) issued by the Pentagon says:

"The number of monthly attacks on Iraq’s infrastructure, such as electricity generation and oil facilities, has decreased since the election, but continue to have an adverse impact on electricity transmission and oil exports. The Iraqi Government, with Coalition support, is leading an increased effort to enhance infrastructure security, such as hardening key nodes and expanding the number and capabilities of personnel guarding pipelines."

It is a report which few Iraqis know about, and even those who know pay little attention to it since on the ground, tangibly, nothing moves forward. The most important things for Iraqis in a boiling summer are water supplies & electricity. These two services are targeted by the insurgents to increase grumblings among Iraqis. People here in Iraq drew a very optimistic image, before the American invasion, about what kind of revolutionary changes in their live they were expecting by the Americans. A question is asked by the majority of people "What kind of super power is US, since it failed to reconstruct the electricity sector after about two and half year of occupation". US is viewed as the most scientifically & technically developed nation, still it can not build an electricity power station within two years.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen Vincent, God bless him, wrote an article about electricity in Basra and I would imagine that many of the circumstances would also apply to your area.
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/vincent200508020823.asp
It might be interesting to you. Also his blog http://spencepublishing.typepad.com/in_the_red_zone/
might be good reading for you, too.
Jan

1:22 AM  
Blogger Pebble said...

Yes a person can see how the things you have described would happen.
We go wheelin' in Glamis, California. Only 1 tiny store for may be 60 miles or more (I'm guessing) the temps rise to over 130*, the one little store has a hand written sign in the window "We Close At Temps of 130* and Above" Just sand dunes for miles and miles... So I know the heat well, but we do bring coolers with lots of water and ice, for when we get back from wheelin' (3 wheel mortor bikes & dune buggies, especially made to ride fast in sand mountains).

No, without at least a lot of water to drink, people will drop dead from the heat, especially the old & the young...

I'm going to go read the article anonymous posted about.

Take Care

5:36 AM  
Blogger Pebble said...

PS Thanks for keeping our eyes on Iraq and the needs of everybody there.

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the US first came toi Iraq
they planned to give out huge
reconstruction contracts to
major international companies.

But then with all the
unemployment in Iraq the people
kept complaining that if the huge
companies get huge projects
they could not employ as many
Iraqi and then suspicion was generated due to company profits.

So the plan changed to delay
the major huge projects and use the money for smaller projects
which would employ more Iraqis.

It was also noted that the Iraqi power grid needed rebuilding
to DISTRIBUTE any large increase
in power. We all know you are suffering. No one in Iraq is forgetting about the average person. But the important thing
is to come together as a nation
and do not let this period of time
cause further divisions amongst
the average people ... we all hope
the situation improves.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to build a major power plant quickly is to have
construction crews work 24 hours
a day ... in addition the American, European and Iraqi engineers need to be able to meet
frequently and to travel throughout Iraq in an easy open manner. In addition All the
material needed to build the plant
needs to be delivered in a safe
consiteant manner with the truck drivers not having to fear for
their lives. American engineers have died in Iraq.

One week after Saddams statue
fell al-Sadr started killing Americans.

Then the United Nations was blown
up

Then the Red cross was blown up

Then the Shiite cleric Hakim
was blown up with 200 innocents.

The killing has been endless.

All factions in Iraq must now
compromise and begin to cooperate
with each other ... the obstacles
toward peace and prosperity can only be removed by the Iraqi representatives of each faction
by cooperation and compromise.

7:38 AM  

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