Power flickers across Venezuela after worst blackout since March
Updated : July 24, 2019 12:05 PM IST
Caracas residents woke up on Tuesday with the lights back on after the worst blackout since March knocked out power in half of Venezuela a day earlier, although service remained down in other states and some key oil infrastructure went offline. State power company Corpoelec, in a statement on Tuesday, said nine states were in the process of recovering service and power had fully returned to the capital Caracas. Tuesday's blackout left over half of the OPEC nation's 23 states in the dark. Reuters witnesses said power remained out in the northwestern oil state of Zulia, along with Tachira state on Colombia's border and the central states of Carabobo and Aragua, depriving residents of running water and phone service. In some areas, the shortage of cooking gas meant the only way to prepare meals was to burn firewood. President Nicolas Maduro's government told Venezuelans not to go to work or school on Tuesday to "help the process of reconnection." Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an "electromagnetic attack." He offered no evidence in echoing similar allegations the government made during blackouts earlier this year. Opponents of the Maduro government, along with power experts, instead note that Venezuela's national power grid has fallen into serious disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance. The blackouts have increased the suffering for many Venezuelans already dealing with widespread shortages of food and medicine and the world's highest inflation rate. Even without the blackouts, some Venezuelans' homes only receive water a few days a week, or less. More than 4 million Venezuelans have fled abroad to escape the economic crisis.