Africa

Egypt medics perform surgery by 'mobile-phone light'

The Zamalek district of Cairo during a power cut on 26 May 2013
Image caption The government blames the power cuts on increasing public consumption

Egyptian doctors had to use the light generated by their mobile phones to perform surgery after a sudden power cut at a hospital, local media report.

The patient was about to have a minor gall-bladder operation when the lights went out in the southern city of Qina.

The provincial governor later ordered an urgent inquiry, saying there was no excuse that the hospital's back-up generator did not work.

Blackouts have recently become part of daily life for many Egyptians.

The doctors in Qina were lucky because their mobile phones were fully charged, the al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported.

The patient was 60 years old, it said.

Several Egyptian cities experienced repeated blackouts over the past two months. Even upscale districts and key facilities in the capital Cairo have been affected, and lights went out repeatedly in the city's international airport last month.

Egypt, which has a population of about 80 million, is not believed to have the funds to purchase the fuel needed to keep its power stations running.

The government blames the power cuts on increasing public consumption, which forces the authorities to cut off electricity for as long as two hours, twice a day.

But Egyptians, especially in poorer towns and villages, complain that the power cuts last much longer.

The opposition accuses the government of President Mohammed Morsi of mismanaging the economy and being incompetent.