Story Advocacy | 04 October 2022
When the lights go out in Syria

 

 
Show: false / Country: Advocacy /
It’s dark in the streets of Latakia, a big city on the Mediterranean coast in Syria. Streetlights are not functioning. A light is on only sporadically in many apartment buildings. Syria 2022 is a country where the people lack one of the 21st century's basic needs: electricity.

Electricity is on in Latakia only three times a day for half an hour each time. The electricity situation differs per city but, for most of the hours of the day, there is no electricity. What does this mean for the Syrians?

Darkness is the one thing that you can clearly 'see' when travelling in Syria. Streets are covered in darkness, windows in the evening and night are black squares in the walls of apartment buildings. The lights that are on are LED lamps that function on batteries. Most of the shops have a battery, often a car battery, that takes over when electricity cuts out, as long as the battery lasts.

“We don’t have the generators that Aleppo has,” says one of our partners in the field. Indeed, in Aleppo, people who can afford it pay for the use of the big noisy generators in the streets. They provide just sufficient power to have some light at home but are not delivering sufficient power for running a washing machine, a refrigerator, or air conditioning. The people in Aleppo are more experienced in lacking electricity, as early in the Syrian war the city was often completely cut off from electricity for longer periods. That was when generators came to the city.

When visiting people all over Syria, we saw this happen time after time: all of a sudden during a conversation electricity stops and everything is in full darkness. Surprisingly quickly Syrians use the flashlights on their mobile phones to lighten up the rooms again and just continue the conversation... at least when their mobile phones are charged.

“There are rumors that soon there will be no power at all,” one Syrian church leader says. “That would mean we will be in full darkness.” What the reason is for the lack of energy isn’t fully clear. Of course, the infrastructure is damaged due to war and lack of maintenance. But even before the war started in 2011, Syrian cities often had power cuts as the power plants in the country couldn’t keep up with demand.

In many houses the washing machine isn’t used for years. With only half an hour electricity, a machine won’t function as it should. For George Tarrab, who has a workshop in Aleppo where he does maintenance of washing machines, this means less work. “People don’t bring their washing machine for repairs as they can’t use their machine.”

The lack of electricity also affects all students in Syria. How to study at home when there is not enough light? How to keep your laptop working when there is no energy to charge it? Many students now thankfully use study rooms that are made available by churches, some with our support. There they have guaranteed electricity (via a generator), stable internet connections and light.

Amgad Saba (32) in Latakia feels also that his business is hindered by the lack of electricity. He started a grocery shop in 2019 and bought a car that he uses for buying vegetables and fruit. Although his income is good, the current situation in Syria hinders him from making bigger improvements. “As there is no electricity, I can’t sell frozen products.”

 
please pray
  • Pray that the conditions for the people in Syria would improve, and that people may have access to basic living necessities, including electricity.
  • Pray that the war affecting the region would cease and that people would come to know God's sovereign power.
  • Pray that God's light would shine upon the hearts of every Syrian and that they would come to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him as Lord and Savior.
GIVE TODAY

Today, if you are able, will you make hope last – by strengthening the church to be a centre of hope? 
 

Every PHP 1,980 supplies vital food, winter clothing and blankets to a Christian in Syria this winter.

Every PHP 2,750 enables two vulnerable believers to access basic medical services.

Every PHP 3,575 provides trauma support and counselling to a believer attending a retreat.

 

With your support, we’ll open more Centres of Hope right across Syria and Iraq, and the church will shine as a beacon of light in the darkness. Hope will arise once more in the region.

GIVE A GIFT