Thirsty worshippers observing Ramadan – the month in which believers of the Islamic faith fast during daylight – flocked to Texaco in Bath Road in the early hours of the morning when they were left without running water on the hottest day of the year.
Supplies were disrupted by engineers from Severn Trent carrying out routine checks at about 2am yesterday.
The homes affected were in London Road, Wyld’s Lane, Lark Hill and Victoria Avenue in Worcester.
City councillor Jabba Riaz was inundated with calls from concerned residents, many of whom had gone without food and water for almost a day.
He estimated that up to 500 homes had been left without water for about 45 minutes.
Coun Riaz said: “It’s one of those things where if anybody wasn’t awake then nobody would have noticed, but that’s not the point.
“Nobody was informed about the cut off. People almost panicked.
“It’s quite an anxious time for those who fast.
“It’s extremely warm and muggy in the evening and people may need to drink water during the night – families with children, people who are sick.
“Severn Trent is a big enough company to have procedures in place. It’s not as if it was an emergency, that was the most annoying thing about it.
“You can go a few days without food but you need water. Putting it into context, it was the hottest day of the year and people are already dehydrated.”
Ben Jones, manager of Texaco in Bath Road, said there were three sales of large amounts of water between 2am and 2.30am.
He said: “One person bought 16.5 litres. That’s quite abnormal for that time of the morning. People don’t normally buy that quantity of water.”
A spokesman for Severn Trent apologised for the disruption, but could not confirm how many properties were affected or for how long the water was off.
He said: “We do have processes in place to make sure we don’t carry out work of this nature during Ramadan, but unfortunately on this occasion that was overlooked and we would like to apologise for this.
“However for the rest of Ramadan we will make sure that we do not plan any work without prior warning to our customers.”
Dhimmis: Sacramento Church to Pray, Eat Ramadan Dinner With Muslims
Every night at sundown, hundreds of Muslim people gather at the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims Center for iftar, the evening meal that breaks their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
Tonight will be no different, except that, in an act of grace and generosity, the iftar meal will be prepared and served by members of First Covenant Church of Sacramento.
Irfan Haq, who helps organize iftars at the SALAM Center, believes this might be the first time that a local church has prepared an iftar meal.
“This is historic,” he said. “They will not only be preparing the meal, but also breaking the fast with us, and joining us in prayer.”
Much of the food for iftar is the culmination of a weeklong cooking camp hosted by First Covenant Church to teach children ages 8 to 14 how to cook.
Tonight’s menu includes meatballs made by the children with halal beef and lamb, pasta sauces and frosted cupcakes. Members of the church will volunteer food items of their own, in addition to the children’s creations.
This is not the first of the church’s efforts to educate its members about religions other than Christianity, Islam in particular.
“We want to teach about the similarities in the Bible and Quran,” said Mark Shetler, executive pastor. “There is too big a division today between Western society and the Arab world.”
The church held a six-week “equipping class” this year to teach the similarities and differences between Christianity and other faiths. It also provided sponsorship to several Iraqi refugee families.
Church leaders continue to bring in a series of speakers from different faiths, including Haq of the SALAM Center, to educate their members.
Shetler, who is from rural Pennsylvania, manages global outreach for the church; these programs are his brainchild. His move to California and exposure to diversity of religions and cultures created in him a desire to build bridges of communication between them.
“I believe that Jesus wants us to share his love,” Shetler said.
Shetler’s favorite passage in the Bible refers to people from every tribe, nation, people and language coming together in worship; a vision for the iftar tonight at the SALAM Center. All are welcome to join.