By Sarah Daoud
CAIRO: “We aren’t getting supplies delivered and are operating on our stock we currently have. This will all be worth it if the change we want to see happen happens,” said Mahmoud Youssef, the owner of Royal Bakery in Cairo.
With food deliveries not being made to the many cafes and stores around the country, people have no choice but to keep their stores closed or remain open on limited supplies.
For the past six days, Egypt has been the center of turmoil with its citizens taking to the streets by the thousands to protest President Hosni Mubarak and the current regime.
While walking down the streets of Cairo, there is no longer the scene of bumper to bumper traffic and hundreds of people in the street at all hours.
Now, there is a scene of many shops staying closed and some being guarded by their owners and workers for fear of being broken into and looted, much like what has happened in many parts of the city.
People are also rushing to the stores that are open to stock up on necessities.
One store owner was busy handling the crowd of people in his store, but dropped everything to run across the street as soon as he saw a bread delivery truck.
Many grocery stores that are open are seeing people come by the masses to stock up on any supplies they can.
One of the main reasons protests started are rising food prices and unemployment rates.
The populated country of 80 million has an estimated 40 percent of its population living in poverty.
In December, the United Nations reported food prices breaking an all-time high internationally by rising 25 percent for the year which is being led by the rising costs for staples such as rice and wheat.
In Egypt, food prices skyrocketed 17 percent due to the rise in commodities prices coupled with the imbalances of local supply.
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, commented on the crisis in Egypt from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and stated the urge for leaders to listen to their people.
According to CNN, he also said they have a responsibility to “provide decent jobs and opportunities to engage more constructively in their social and political life — this is what has been lacking.”
Also heard from Davos, the food prices are at the same levels of 2008.
In Egypt, all banks are closed as well as the stock market, which saw huge losses in the past week due to the turmoil.
The US stock markets took plunges in the last week as investors grew nervous about the political unrest brewing in Egypt.
Crude oil prices also took a hit and rose a little more than 4 percent before settling at just shy of $90 a barrel when protests started on Friday, January 25.
Egypt produces an estimated of about 700,000 barrels of oil per day and is also home to a key shipping lane, the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean.