Caracas and other major Venezuelan cities were hit by a new electricity blackout on Friday evening, as they were barely recovering from another outage that had paralysed the country for days.
The blackout began around 7.10pm (23:10 GMT), leaving the capital as well as cities including Maracaibo, Valencia, Maracay and San Cristobal without electricity, according to users on social media networks.
Venezuela suffered its worst blackouts earlier this month and then another round of power outages paralysed commerce this past week.
The blackouts have worsened Venezuelans’ suffering, cutting off water supplies and leaving hospitals and airports in the dark.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government blamed the outage on an “attack” targeting the Guri hydroelectric plant. Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said earlier this week the latest blackout was a result of “an attack on the charging and transmission centre” at the Guri dam, which supplies 80 percent of the power to the country of 30 million.
“What (last time) took days, now has been taken care of in just a few hours,” Rodriguez said, saying the fix had been made in “record time”.
Both the opposition and the government plan demonstrations on Saturday as they try to project resolve in a debilitating standoff in what was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.
More than 3 million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, escaping dire economic conditions that left many without adequate food or medicine.
The Red Cross said on Friday it has reached an agreement to send aid shipments to the South American country to help alleviate shortages.
Venezuelans turn to food production amid crisis 3:22
Following talks in the capital Caracas, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) head Francesco Rocca said the organisation will have “unhindered access to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela.”
“In a country torn apart by a power struggle, humanity has prevailed,” Rocca said.
“We will help bring the goods into the country, but our rules – like the rejection of military intervention – must be respected,” he added.
The first supplies would include medical equipment, surgical kits and power generators. The aid delivery, which could begin in two weeks, will help some 65,000 people, according to Roca.
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