But when power was cut off Thursday night in oil-rich Iraq, people were left wondering how to escape the scorching heat.
Those with the means connected refrigerators, air conditioning units and fans to private generators, but not Karrar, who lives in the city of Al-Hillah, as well as others in the rural and impoverished south.
Four southern provinces have been without power since Tuesday, including Basra, home to Iraq’s main port.
High temperatures have been compounded by high levels of humidity.
“Children are sleeping on the ground to try to keep cool, but we adults have not slept the last few nights,” Meshaal Hashem, a longshoreman from Basra and father of three, told AFP.
In the city of Diwaniyah, Rahi Abdelhussein buys bags of ice to cool down his children, saying it helps them hydrate them.
Stores have placed hoses and makeshift outdoor showers to entice customers to stop.
Anger has risen among Iraq’s 40 million people, with corrupt politicians at the center of a blame game for their poor services and deteriorating infrastructure.
“The electricity ministry is blaming the oil ministry that blames the finance ministry, and the finance ministry says the culprit is Iran, but Iran says it’s the Iraqi government’s fault, and the government blames the people they accuse. the politicians of failures “. “Iraqi political analyst Sajad Jiyad tweeted.
“Politicians just shrug their shoulders and say, ‘We have to live with it.’
Boiling temperatures and power outages often go hand in hand during the summer months in Iraq, but there are other factors behind the latest crisis.
Iraq, the second largest producer in the OPEC oil cartel, buys gas and power from neighboring Iran to supply about a third of its power sector, damaged by decades of conflict and poor maintenance.
But Iran on Tuesday decided to cut off supplies to its neighbor, saying the Iraqi electricity ministry owes it more than $ 6 billion in arrears.
Iraq says it cannot pay due to US sanctions on money transfers to Iran, a deep financial crisis exacerbated by falling oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Baghdad government also says few consumers are paying their utility bills, and many are stealing electricity by illegally connecting lines to the power grid.
Endemic corruption was a key driver of the protests that rocked Iraq from October 2019 to June 2020.
Iraq is ranked 21st from last place on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, with tens of billions of dollars missing from state coffers.
The latest power outages have sparked protests and clashes with police in the southern provinces of Missan and Wasit, leaving 12 people injured, seven of them police.
The Electricity Ministry says the blackouts, which began in the south before spreading to the rest of the country, were caused by inexplicable attacks on power lines.
“Someone is trying to destabilize the country and wreak havoc,” ministry spokesman Ahmad Moussa said on television, without elaborating.
As for the electricity minister, Majed Hantoosh, he resigned on Monday, the day before Tehran announced its supply cut.
It was the eighteenth year in a row that Iraq’s electricity minister was unable to survive the summer season.
In June, a senior official said Iraq wants to build eight nuclear power reactors by 2030.
According to experts, Iraq should instead renovate its infrastructure, because between 30 and 50 percent of energy capacity is lost due to outdated circuits.