02 de junio de 2020
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Besides electricity, what else does Venezuela lose in a blackout?

By Hector Pereira

By Hector Pereira

Caracas, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- Every time there's a blackout, Venezuelans know they have lost much more than the light in their light bulbs, because there's also no telephone service, no Internet connection, no pumping of drinking water, no more of many things that make life easier.

Power outages have been common in regions far from Caracas for many years, but since they have become more frequent and prolonged everywhere in Venezuela, the petroleum-producing nation loses some $500 million every day that productive work is suspended by the government, according to estimates of the National Assembly legislature.

But beyond the money, there are many other elements disrupted by the ongoing electricity crisis that began last March 7:

- Water

Though the majority of Venezuelans can't be sure of having running water every day, the pipelines go from wet to dry when a blackout strikes and it is impossible to turn on the pumps that get water to the communities.

Millions of Venezuelans go down to nearby rivers and springs to get the water they need to wash themselves or clean their houses, while others try to fill containers with the scant rainfall.

After the power cuts of recent weeks, the government has set up water distribution points and water wagons, an option that some citizens pay for out of their own pockets at prices sometimes exceeding $200.

- Internet

Almost all Venezuelans use local Internet providers, which collapse during the blackouts that can last 24, 48, or more than 72 hours.

Non-government organizations estimate that since March 7, on at least five occasions, 90 percent of Venezuelan Internet users have been disconnected by electricity cuts.

Never sure of success, citizens go to specific points in their cities where they are most likely to receive a signal, however weak, that will allow them to use social networks or to communicate on WhatsApp.

- Telephone

Once the source of power has been interrupted, it becomes an uphill job to make a telephone call. Home devices keep working for several hours but only for short-distance calls.

The functioning of mobile phones in such cases is almost null and void, and having a little luck depends on the area and the amount of time the batteries will last.

- Transportation

With thousands of buses paralyzed for lack of replacement parts, the few that continue operating are packed with passengers, while most people are forced to walk kilometers (miles) during the untimely power outages.

Car-owners can spend hours waiting in line to fill up their tanks at the few gas stations still open.

In the case of Caracas, when the underground subway suddenly goes out of action, the hundreds of thousands of people who use it daily have to go upstairs to the sidewalk and the collapse is all the more visible.

- Food

In a country where the availability of consumer goods is dwindling, and whatever is available is very expensive for most people, losing a kilo (pound) of meat due to a lack of refrigeration is a cause for concern.

- Banking

During blackouts, banks stay closed, the ATMs don't work, and without the Internet, there's no more online banking.

- Education

Students miss classes because of power cuts in their communities, or for the lack of water, transportation, or for any other problem of the crisis.

- Health

Problems in the health system, such as the scarcity of medicines, only get worse when there's no electricity. And forget doctor appointments and elective surgery, forget operating rooms and emergency rooms, none are available until the lights come on.

Histórico de noticias
Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 1

Miami Desk, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Family-ordered autopsy confirms George Floyd died of asphyxiation

Washington, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- The independent autopsy ordered by the family of George Floyd, the African American man who died exactly a week ago while...

4 Brazilian states begin reopening with cases, deaths still on the rise

Sao Paulo, Jun 1 (efe-epa).- Several cities in the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo, Ceara, Amazonas and Para - four of the regions hardest hit by the...

Boston ex-police chief: The problem's not the police, it's systemic racism

By Jairo Mejia

Police behavior stirring up violence amid US protests

Washington, May 31 (efe-epa).- Across the United States on Sunday, local authorities strengthened security measures to prepare for new after-dark riots and...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 31

Miami Desk, May 31 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Pro- and anti-Bolsonaro forces clash in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo, May 31 (efe-epa).- Groups supporting and opposing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro clashed on Sunday in violent disturbances amid the political...

SpaceX Dragon capsule docks with International Space Station

(Update: Adds comments by crew and NASA officials)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 28

Miami Desk, May 28 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

With 101,000 deaths, US still unable to slow spread of coronavirus

Washington, May 28 (efe-epa).- The United States, now with more than 101,000 official deaths from Covid-19, on Thursday still has not been able to halt the...

FBI giving top priority to black man's death at hands of Minneapolis police

Washington, May 28 (efe-epa).- The US Department of Justice and the FBI on Thursday issued a joint statement saying that they will undertake a "robust...

Migrants held in US detention centers at the mercy of COVID-19

By Alex Segura Lozano and Laura Barros

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 27

Miami Desk, May 27 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

NASA-SpaceX launch to International Space Station scrubbed due to weather

Miami, May 27 (efe-epa).- The historic launch of the NASA-SpaceX manned mission to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida...

Brazil's economic engine announces responsible resumption of activities

By Maria Angelica Troncoso

Expert: Pandemic revealing labor exploitation as in US slavery period

By Jorge Ignacio Perez

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 26

Miami Desk, May 26 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Florida expresses interest in hosting GOP conclave if Trump cancels NC event

Miami, May 26 (efe-epa).- Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, said that his state would love to host the Republican National Convention this summer...

Brazil, its image abroad marred, suffering record capital flight

By Carla Samon Ros

FBI investigating death of black man arrested by white cop

(Update: Adds identity of victim, firing of 4 police officers)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: May 25

Miami Desk, May 25 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Americans flock to beaches on Memorial Day amid health personnel's concerns

By Alfonso Fernandez

Stranded Colombians send out SOS from Sao Paulo airport

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Bogota's Teatro Mayor celebrating 10th anniversary with digital focus

By Jaime Ortega Carrascal