Image by jainaj via FlickrAccording to the car (which knows these things), the temperature has been getting as high as 48C over the past couple of weeks. Gulf News tells us that the average noon temperature right now is 41C - and the humidity is knocking 70% at night. It's certainly hot, sticky and damp at the moment, as many of you will well know.
So the rolling power cuts that are currently sweeping across Sharjah are pretty unpopular. They come without warning, for anything up to eight hours at a time - GN reports some areas have been without power for 30 hour - and have affected many built-up housing areas in the emirate, as well as its industrial zone.
The government body responsible for the whole mess, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), has remained regally silent, refusing to answer journalist's questions. As I pointed out on the Dubai Today radio programme yesterday, this is hardly surprising. It's difficult to raise more than a simian grunting noise out of them as a customer, let alone a cogent response to media enquiries.
This, of course, has got the media's goat, particularly Gulf News which has reported the whole fiasco extensively today, giving a nice chunk of front page as well as all of page three to reporting on residents' misery - and there's plenty of it to report on, I can tell you. People are having to drive around in their cars at night to keep their kids cool, workers are being forced to sleep outside and a wide range of businesses are fighting to keep going in the face of the highly unpredictable outages.
It just goes to show, hell hath no fury like a journalist scorned. Except the force of that fury is tempered with a good deal of timorousness. Gulf News' swingeing attack on the ever-silent SEWA in its editorial reads more like a schoolgirl's essay than it does a righteous polemic. The last line of this towering tirade sums up the fury that GN brings to excoriate the opaque authors of Sharjah's power vacuum: "Children are among the first to be distressed thanks to the excessive heat."
Mind you, at least Gulf News is trying - it's not alone, either. 7Days and Khaleej Times both have extensive coverage (KT pointing out that a worker has died of heatstroke and 30 others have been admittted to hospital in the midst of the cuts).
Sharjah's very own Gulf Today, as pointless a newspaper as you're likely to find, totally ignores the entire issue in what can only be described as a craven display. Mind you, it neatly demonstrates rule one of journalism in the UAE. If you're going to make a mess, do it next door or mummy will be upset.