Venezuelans struggle to survive in nationwide power outage

Latin America

Venezuelans struggle to survive in nationwide power outage

A massive power blackout is still causing misery across Venezuela. The lights went out last week, and officials have said they’re working hard to put the power back on across the country. At least 20 people have died as a result of the outage.

CGTN’S Juan Carlos Lamas filed this report from Caracas.

It’s been nearly a week of a country-wide blackout. Intermittent power has been restored to some parts of Venezuela, but others have been without electricity since last Thursday.

Ninety-percent of the industrial and commercial sector in Venezuela is paralyzed due to the blackout, according to the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Production.

What little food people had in refrigerators spoiled, and temperatures are rising. Looting has been reported in grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies. Hospitals are working to keep people alive using power from generators.

Water has stopped running in taps across the country. Caracas residents have started carrying buckets of water collected from the Guaire River, one of the most contaminated rivers in Venezuela.

The loss to the oil industry, commercial and service sectors is reported to be nearly $900 million since the blackout started. Fuel supplies are running low in Caracas.

President Nicolas Maduro has said the power failure is a result of sabotage. Maduro has also said the U.S. and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who the U.S. supports, are likely behind it.

The U.S. embassy has said it’s withdrawing its staff from Venezuela, and Venezuelan government has given them 72-hours to go. Maduro has called for a full investigation.

Many energy experts dismiss the charges of sabotage, saying the blackout is the result of years of under-investment, corruption, and brain drain.