Egyptian students turn to makeshift study halls amid power cuts

As Egypt grapples with severe power cuts exacerbated by a heatwave and gas shortage, churches, cafes, and libraries are offering sanctuary to students preparing for crucial high-school exams.

With daily blackouts extended to three hours, venues equipped with power generators such as sports centers and wedding halls have opened their doors. This initiative aims to assist students struggling with interruptions at home due to the electricity shortages, largely driven by Egypt’s reliance on natural gas for electricity generation.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced plans to import $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to alleviate the power crisis, intensified by rising temperatures and increased electricity demand.

In Alexandria, hundreds of students queued outside the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to access its air-conditioned reading halls, provided free of charge outside normal operating hours.

“I came here because there are many services available, it’s a nice vibe, there’s internet, and the atmosphere is calm, which encourages us to study,” said high school student Hassan Yazi.

Meanwhile, Alexandria’s Coptic Church of Saint George has also joined efforts by using its generator to power study halls, ensuring students have access to essential amenities like internet and refreshments.

In Cairo, families are improvising to cope with the outages. Noura Saeed, a physician, relocated temporarily to a neighborhood with consistent electricity to support her daughter’s study routine amidst prolonged blackouts.

As the government works to stabilize the situation before mid-July, when it aims to cease power cuts for the remainder of the summer, many families and institutions are stepping up to support students during this critical academic period.

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