x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Power cuts hit Sharjah again

Killer's appeal is delayed as court loses its electricity.

SHARJAH // A former associate of the suspected international arms dealer Viktor Bout, had his appeal against his conviction for murder postponed yesterday because of power cuts which hit parts of Sharjah. AS, 47, was just one of around 90 cases due to be heard at Sharjah Appeals Court which were disrupted yesterday morning due to the electricity cuts.

The defendant, who is being held at Sharjah Central Jail, was taken to the court building but never appeared inside the court because the electrical systems failed. The power cuts also affected traffic lights, homes and businesses across the emirate. Thousands of residents spent an uncomfortable Tuesday night in sweltering humidity as air conditioners stopped working and people were forced to use candles to light their homes.

The power cuts started early on Tuesday, with no electricity for five hours. The lights went out again Tuesday night and were still not working yesterday morning, said Akbar Shah, who runs errands for a Sharjah company. "We couldn't sleep because it was so hot," said Mr Shah, who lives in the Suwaihan area. "It was difficult to go to work today without any sleep." Residents said they dreaded a possible repeat of last year, when apartments and businesses went without lights and air conditioning for days at a time.

Officials from the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) did not respond to requests for comment on how long the cuts would last. Sewa blamed last summer's crisis on a breakdown at a major power plant because of high demand. Residents in apartment blocks in the Rolla Corniche area said power was cut in the afternoon for three hours before failing again at night. "People had to walk up 10 floors," said Francis David, a manager at a Sharjah trading firm. "It was very tiring. It was too hot. I wish we were given information about cuts planned."

Janet Marin, a secretary with the Kaloti real estate agency, said: "Some apartments [in the Buhairah Corniche and Jamal Abdul Nasser areas] are more than 30 floors high and people are upset about having to climb so many stairs." @Email:rtalwar@thenational.ae myoussef@thenational.ae