Homs: Losses in poultry sector; increase in ice price
Homs – Orwah al-Mundhir
The central city of Homs is witnessing frequent and long hours of power outages in light of the high temperatures, which negatively affected ice cream, meat, and poultry shops, in addition to the high prices of ice cubes.
Electricity is cut off for six consecutive hours, compared to a connection period that does not exceed 30 minutes in the areas of al-Hamra, al-Inshaat, Akrimah, and al-Hadhara, while the outages reach 12 hours in other neighborhoods of Homs, in al-Khalidiyah, al-Bayada, and Jouret al-Shayah.
Electricity is absent from entire areas for days due to faults and failure of electrical transformers and cables.
Power outages for long hours lead to food spoilage, refrigerators going out of service, and difficulty in obtaining cold water in light of the high temperatures.
Increase in the price of ice cubes
“I pay 2,500 Syrian pounds for a piece of ice,” Nahla, a resident of al-Qusour neighborhood, told Enab Baladi, pointing out that the refrigerators are useless in light of the eight consecutive hours of power outages, which increases the spending burden on her family.
The price of ice cubes increased for the second time during the past week, with the continuing rise in temperatures and the increase in hours of electrical rationing. The price of ice cubes ranged between 5,000 and 7,000 Syrian pounds, then it jumped to 10,000 Syrian pounds.
Abdulrahman al-Qaddour, owner of a vegetable store in the al-Inshaat neighborhood in Homs, told Enab Baladi that the high temperatures and the almost complete power outages had increased the demand for ice cubes, which raised their price.
The continuous power outages also led to an increase in the cost of producing one slab in the ice factories, due to their dependence on diesel generators, with the price of the slab being decided with transportation fees and profits taken into account.
The wholesale price of the ice board is 7,500 pounds, in addition to 1,000 pounds as transportation fees and 1,500 pounds as a percentage of profits, after dividing the slab into four sections, each section at 2,500 pounds.
The regime-controlled areas suffer from continuous power outages, along with the high prices of oil derivatives, which exacerbated the transportation problem in one city and between governorates.
Syrians in Homs and other areas controlled by the Syrian regime depend on ice sheets as the only solution to cool drinking water.
Mahmoud al-Hayel, a resident of the al-Khalidiya neighborhood in the city of Homs, told Enab Baladi, “We no longer feel the presence of electricity due to the hours being cut and the minutes being connected, even the batteries (LEDs) used for lighting have run out.”
Al-Hayel indicated that he relied on his neighbors, who own solar energy systems, to charge mobile phones and LEDs.
The regime-held areas were subjected to a complete power outage on July 14 due to the explosion of the current transformer, which led to a fire in the Deir Ali station in the countryside of Damascus, which caused a power outage in Damascus, Daraa, Homs, and Latakia.
Ice cream and meat stores’ losses
The rise in temperatures during the past two weeks, coinciding with the long rationing hours, affected the owners of ice cream, meat, and broiler shops.
Great losses have been incurred by broiler breeders due to the death of large numbers due to the weak demand from slaughterhouses due to the decline in their refrigeration capacity and the weak demand in the markets.
The poultry sector is one of the sectors most affected by the heat wave, which led to the death of large numbers of chickens during the past few days.
The head of the regime’s government-affiliated poultry breeders’ committee, Nizar Saad al-Din, told the pro-regime al-Watan local newspaper on July 18, “The mortality rate in broilers reached 20%, and in laying hens it reached 11%.”
Anwar al-Haj, a broiler breeder in Homs, told Enab Baladi that the losses are heavy after the current heat wave due to the high cost of ventilation for poultry farms relying on generators after the permanent power outage.
Al-Haj pointed out that the power outages reduced the capacity of slaughterhouses to receive live broilers from poultry farms due to their decreased ability to cool meat, which caused the accumulation of chickens in poultry farms and exacerbated the complications of the problem.
Saad al-Din told al-Watan, “In order to reduce deaths during the current heat wave, we need 17 hours of electricity without any outage for ventilation and running generators, and this is not available.”
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