A photo showing “Luna Al Shabl before her death in the hospital”.. What is the truth?

The Egyptian government has been cutting off electricity regularly for a year, but as the outages have become longer amid successive waves of extreme heat, criticism of the authorities has increased, especially since the energy-rationing policy has led to reduced street lighting.

In this context, a photo appeared on social media, which its publishers claimed was of the “ring road” surrounding Cairo, plunged into darkness, illuminated only by car lights.

The image spread with the misleading comment

The picture shows a highway at night, plunged into darkness, with some parts of it illuminated by car headlights.

The accompanying comment read: “Sunday, June 30, 2024, Ring Road (a highway surrounding Cairo and connecting its major governorates).”

Power outage sparks anger in Egypt

This photo has been shared thousands of times on social media pages, with criticism directed at the Egyptian authorities increasing amid the worsening power outage crisis.

For a year now, the Egyptian government has been cutting off electricity. Initially, the outages lasted for an hour and sometimes less, but as the period has increased amid successive waves of extreme heat, criticism of the Egyptian government has increased.

In Cairo, where temperatures have generally hovered between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius in the shade in recent weeks, power cuts occur at irregular and unannounced times.

This week, power was cut off in some Cairo neighborhoods at midnight in addition to the usual daytime outages, leading to increasing unrest.

As part of implementing the state’s plan to rationalize energy consumption, the authorities (archive) reduced lighting on the road network, including the Ring Road, which prompted citizens to file complaints about the difficulty and danger of driving.

As part of measures to reduce power outages, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Thursday that his country had contracted for “all fuel shipments sufficient to end power outages during the summer” from July to September.

Image truth

Returning to the circulated photo of darkness on a highway, it is old and was taken in Alexandria.

A search for it on search engines showed that it was published over the past years and attributed to more than one country that experienced power outages, such as Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen. The oldest version dates back to 2012.

The circulated photo is old and was taken in Alexandria

In one of these published copies, a mark appears with the name of the photographer, Islam Othman.

In light of this, a deeper search leads to the original version of the photo, published on the photographer’s Facebook page, on August 1, 2012.

After that, the photographer Othman confirmed that he was the one who took this photo.

“I took this photo in 2012 in Alexandria, specifically in the Mohamed Naguib area on the seafront, where I lived at the time,” he told AFP Fact Check journalists.

During that period, Egypt witnessed a long power outage, which led to the disruption of the Cairo Metro network.

The authorities attributed the power outage at the time to the high temperatures, which led to heavy use of air conditioners that exceeded the capacity of power plants.

Leave a Comment