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Blackout - Unexpected Consequences of Life During Wartime

By: Paul Beesley

The first three missiles struck at 04:47. A fourth, louder and closer, a few minutes later. I'm told there were fifteen in all.

I didn't pay that much attention until, unable to sleep, I noticed there was no internet. A check revealed no power.

"No power, equals no water," I thought.

No shower and a cold breakfast, while outside, people were stirring, gardeners still tidying the garden opposite. 

Traffic light, and no traffic-lights.

Generators roar outside dentists, chemists and a few coffee shops. Power for essentials only. Internet still patchy by 09:00. Don't expect to charge phone or laptop for the price of a latte.

Domestic water out, auto-dispensers also. Queues by manual water points.

My volunteer centre had generators, but not enough water to work fully. Charging phone and mini-torch is becoming an obsession.

The gym was open - no power but an open window provided cooling. An eccentric Russian restaurant provided gas cooked borsch and a beer.

At my hostel, I read while there was daylight, then supper in the thickening gloom.

A clear, moonlit night with car headlights, confusing more than illuminating. The Red Cat Bar, was open for a beer. By 19:20, the Synagogue was turning out after Friday prayers. Chatted to Yuri, the security man. They had light and power. As did the big mall and some of the fancier restaurants.

Generators drowned out the traffic, as I found a coffee shop with power. Only half a dozen people were there - reading, playing cards, and checking phones. There are people on the street, but those places that are open are not as crowded as you would expect.

An early night, as I wanted to conserve my phone's charge. 

Hostel has water for flushing and hand washing, only. 

Power back on in the morning. Water down to a trickle.

Just take a moment, those of you far away, to consider: no heat, power, light, water or phone. Internet unreliable, traffic jams. Unable to work from home or even brew-up (unless you have gas.) Shops taking cash only, unable to even read in your own home once night falls. The fridge-freezer slowly defrosting.

You can't call an electrician or your internet provider because the entire city is like that.

And your phone is almost out of charge.

This is the reality of civilian life during wartime.


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