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Power outage kills subway passenger, enrages protesters in Egypt

By Marwa Yahia (Xinhua)

13:19, August 16, 2012

CAIRO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Frequent power outages have been enraging protesters across Egypt this summer particularly after a woman died of suffocation in a subway train during a power failure on Sunday.

In a silent protest in the Sadat subway station, the protesters carried placards saying "we are not taking the metro to die". Dressed in black, the participants mourned the death of Madeha Saber, who was suffocated to death after an power outage made the train stop and stay underground for a long time.

In the morning rush hour, passengers often get stuck in the train due to the frequent outages and have to stay in the train for 20 minutes or even more than hour and half. Sometimes they manage to force open the doors and walk on the rail. But most of the time they fail to do so and have to put up with the bad ventilation and high temperatures.

This summer, Egypt has been plunged into darkness for an unprecedented number of times. Some areas have regular power cuts every three to four hours, upper Egypt in particular.

Ismailia hospital has reported a power cut that lasted 40 minutes, during which even the incubators and intensive care unit had no power. After the incident, the International Egyptian Council for Human Rights advised hospitals without a generator not to receive patients.

Peoples in upper Egypt put trees on the highways in protest against the power and water cuts. People in Monofya governorate threw stones at the building of electricity authorities, attacked the officials and smashed their cars' windows. The blackouts and water cuts, which last hours long in many villages and even some big cities, raised criticism on President Mohamed Morsi, who came in power not long ago, regarding this promise to tackle the problems affecting the people's daily life, such as fuel shortages, poor garbage disposal and insufficient security.
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