Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1229, (15 -21 January 2015)
Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Issue 1229, (15 -21 January 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Keeping warm in winter

The unusually  cold weather over the past couple of weeks has caused a rush to buy heating equipment, writes Ameera Fouad

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The cold snap that has hit the Middle East has taken many Egyptians by surprise. Accustomed to warm winters with occasional rain, many people have found themselves lacking heaters to keep warm. In Alexandria, where a recent storm led to at least a foot of hail in the city accompanied by thunder and lightning, some people were buying heaters for the first time in their lives. Khaled Kenawy, an accountant, bought three indoor heaters in one go. “We have not seen such weather for years,” he said, “and the temperature inside is even lower than outside.”

Abdel-Malek Hassan, an importer who often travels to Scandinavia, known for its chilly weather, said, “It never crossed my mind that I would need to buy an electric heater in sunny Egypt.” The bad weather has meant lucrative business for shop owners. “Of the 10,000 heaters of different kinds we had in stock, only 360 are left. It is certainly a bolt from the blue for me,” said Cherif Bahig, the owner of an electrical supplies shop in the Shatby district of Alexandria. Sales of blankets have also been doing well. “We have sold more blankets this year than almost ever before,” said Ahmed Salah, a salesperson in one of the largest stores in Alexandria. “We ran out of blankets on the fifth day of the cold wave,” he said, adding that this was despite the store having ordered in extra stock.

Salah said that some young people had been buying more than 500 blankets at a time. “They buy them to distribute in poor areas around the city,” he said. Lentil soup has been another hero of the cold weather and is often recommended as a way of keeping warm in winter. Fayez Al-Asiouty, a local supermarket owner, told the Weekly that his shop has been selling 70 kg of lentils a day. “Last Friday, we sold more than 300 kg of lentils in one day,” he added.

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