Yemen: Electricity Woes in Yemen

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

Electricity, food and water are basic human needs and have been the main demands of the majority of Yemenis long before the revolution started and still continue to be so. Nothing seems to have changed with the overthrow of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and living conditions only seem to get worse under the new National Consensus Government. Most Yemenis are living in dire conditions due to the daily and long hours of electricity cuts that have been affecting most areas of Yemen, from the north to the south.

Yemeni netizens expressed their views about the electricity cuts via Twitter. Those outside Yemen wrote in solidarity while those in Yemen, including, students, journalists and visitors, vented their frustration.

Yemenis outside Yemen

Marwan Almuraisy creatively tweeted:

@almuraisy: If yo.. wa..t to kn..w wha.. ar.. peo..le in #Yemen n..w, Ju..t as.. wh..n w..s th.. ON la..t on..e?

Haitham Al-Shami tweeted:

@HAITHAMshami: Most Tweets about #Yemen are now about electricity, everything else is minor now, Power Outage is a B***h

Sana2 Al-Yemen tweeted:

@Sanasiino: Depriving people of electricity in such conditions is a slow and painful approach to murder. This form of punishment is unacceptable #Yemen

@Sanasiino:Electricity is cut every two hours in Aden #Yemen. Two days ago protests were staged at 4am after people could not stand the overnight heat

@Sanasiino:The issue of electricity NEEDS to be addressed in #Yemen and especially the South where humidity and heat is much more prevalent

Ameera tweeted:

@ameeraymnia: Mom says she has had less than 1 hour of electricity in the past 24 hours #SANAA #YEMEN :(

Abdulla Althawr was proactively planning for a solution to Yemen's electricity problem:

@abdullaht: Already looking up masters in renewable energy to start my solar energy company in Yemen! Lucrative business 4 a country without electricity

Yemenis in Yemen

Activist Atiaf Alwazir shared her agony through her tweets:

@womanfromYemen: today, electricity has been disconnected since the morning. Did something happen to the power lines AGAIN? #YEMEN

@womanfromyemen: we did not have any electricity for the last 24 hours, the only thing the neighbors are talking about today is that. #yemen

@wowanfromyemen: no electricity since yesterday, 6 minutes left on my computer battery & phone is almost dying. so plz excuse me for not responding. #Yemen

@womanfromyemen: how wonderful it feels when the room suddenly lights up b/c electricity is back on, good thing i wasn't asleep yet. #Yemen

@wowmanfromyemen: no way! #electricity just cut off again :( :* .. what was that only 1 hour of power? #Yemen

@womanfromYemen: #Yemen: those in need of regular kidney dialysis have been greatly effected by lack of #electricity in the hospitals.

Atiaf's husband Benjamin Wiacek also tweeted his frustration:

@Nefermaat: no #Electricity since 14h hours (4h total in 3 days) also means food in the freezer is out of use, all melted !! what a waste #Sanaa #Yemen

@Nefermaat:Al-HAMDULILLAH !!!!! #Electricity just turned on !!!! It's 3:49pm now, let's see how long it stays… #Sanaa #Yemen

Abdulrahman Jaber sarcastically echoed:

@ARJaber:1 hour electricity a day … That what time management is all about :p #Yemen

Nadia Daar tweeted:

@nadiadaar: Once again find myself in #Sana'a #Yemen realizing how much i take electricity for granted living in DC.

Maysa AlYemen tweeted:

‏@MaysaAlYemen: You know a friend is back in #Yemen when he/she starts tweeting about electricity.

Mohammed Al-Asaadi ironically wondered:

@alasaadim:Yemenis: Al Qaida gave town security, at a cost: #Yemen – Can we contract Al #Qaida 2 protect the electricity network?

Alaa Isam also tweeted the same ordeal from Aden:

@AlaaIsam: #Power in #Aden 2 hours On and 2 hours Off #Electricity #SouthYemen #Yemen #yf #hell


Hundreds of students all over Yemen are angered by daily blackouts with only two hours of electricity or less which made them resort to studying in candle light staged protests.

@womanfromyemen: heard this at least 3 times today “how can my kids study for their finals w/out any electricity?” #Yemen

@GhadaYemen: @WomanfromYemen Even before the crisis in #Yemen, we used to have electricity outages before and during final examinations.Stupid government

Afrah Nasser tweeted a video posted by osanboairan which shows the hardship of students studying during power-cuts in Southern Yemen:

@Arfahnasser: High school's students in ‪#Aden‬ study for final exams under streets’ lights due to electricity blackouts in their homz

Foreign journalists, expats and visitors

Dana Moss, founding member of the Yemen Peace Project, who is visiting Yemen, tweeted:

@YPPDana: the ppl collectively groan or cheer on the street when the electricity shuts off or teases them by turning on for a few mins #yemen

@YPPDana: Electricity situation here in #yemen definitely the worst we have ever experienced it despite frequent cuts in '09, '10 @YemenPeaceNews

Ferdinand Carvajal, an NGO consultant in Yemen, tweeted:

@CarvajalF: electricity on fr 2hrs, cut as soon as Morsi announced winner in #Egypt election ..bck 2 darkness …#yemen

Journalist Iona Craig tweeted:

@ionacraig: I'm about ready to start fighting for electricity: Three killed in #Yemen in clash over electricity grid:

@ionacraig: No power for 11hrs & counting: MT @Nefermaat: Rain + thunderstorm + no electricity + some work to do + Thursday = ……. ? #Yemen

Journalist Adam Baron tweeted:

@adammbaron: dear electricity: im sorry for anything ive ever done to wrong you, and ill never take you for granted again. please come back to me.

Government Role

Maysa AlYemen tweeted the blame game:

@MaysaAlYemen: Minster of Electricity blames old gov for #poweroutages.Old gov blame new gov for them. And I'm here tweeting this under candle light #Yemen

Human Rights Minister Mrs. Hooria Mashhour tweeted:

@Hooria_Mashhour: organize crimes on attacking oil , gas pipes and electricity lines are ongoing to prevent government from implementing it's plans #yemen

Mohammed Albasha, Yemen Embassy spokesperson in Washington DC, added:

@Yemen411: Finally: #Yemen's Central Military Command will dispatch a multi-unit force to protect the electricity & oil infrastructure

Official updates about the electricity issue

@YemeniPrinz: Yemeni cabinet calls for tribal cooperation to protect electricity lines – Yemen Post: Yemeni cabinet cal… #yemen

@NasserMaweri: #Yemen | Electricity Minister: Sabotage attacks are politically-motivated

@NasserMaweri: FINALLY!!!! Yemen's main Electricity Station Finally Operating… #Yemen #Blackout

Final Reactions:

Sam Waddah tweets:

@SamWaddah: Only in ‪#Yemen‬, basic rights such as Water, electricity, food, health & education have become dreams that people struggle to achieve!

He adds:

@SamWaddah: #Yemen-is rely on themselves for the provision of water, electricity, health, education, and even safety & security! What's the govt for?

Ahmed Khuaga tweeted a rhetorical question:

@ahYemen: if the government can't protect the electricity lines, we don't want this government #Yemen

Finally Atiaf Alwazir suggests the name of Yemen's next weekly Friday protest:

@womanfromYemen: المفروض ان نسمي الجمعة القادمة جمعة “أين الكهرباء يا حكومة الوفاق؟” #اليمن “?
Next Friday should be called “where is electricity #yemen

To have a “picture” of how Yemenis used to live before the revolution and why they revolted, read this post by Sam Waddah. Not much has changed since, some Yemenis wonder, and others still hope, that change will happen.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.


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