3 dead in Venezuela after widespread outage leaves hospitals without power

PHOTO: Ana Arroyo stirs a pot as she uses a candle to illuminate the area over the stove, in La Chinita neighborhood, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, April 18, 2018.PlayAriana Cubillos/AP
WATCH Venezuelans, plagued by hunger, seen eating out of the garbage

Three people, including a newborn, have died in Venezuela after an hours-long power outage in 16 states left hospitals with no power, a persistent problem in what is already a struggling nation.

The explosion of an electrical transformer in the interior of Venezuela left most of the country without power on Monday and Tuesday, Luis Motta Dominguez, the Minister of Electric Energy, said in a video on Instagram.

Power outages in Venezuela have become common, with Venezuelans experiencing days-long blackouts that limit the ability of health professionals to care for patients. Hospitals have also struggled with a lack of medical supplies and medicine to treat those who enter their doors.

PHOTO: A patient seen lying down on her bed in a dismal hospital condition, May 10, 2018, in Caracas, Miranda, Venezuela.Roman Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A patient seen lying down on her bed in a dismal hospital condition, May 10, 2018, in Caracas, Miranda, Venezuela.

“This situation is lamentable because you feel a lot of impotence,” Hania Salazar, the president of the nursing association in the state of Zulia, told ABC News.

“How, as a human, as a health professional, can you treat a patient when you don’t have anything to offer them when you don’t know when the electricity will cut off,” Salazar said.

Salazar describes hospitals becoming large scale morgues.

“We have had patients die and before they die, they tell us ‘Don’t let me die, I don’t want to die, save me.’ Those are the words that echo in our ears and in our conscious,” Salazar said.

Venezuela, which sits in the world’s largest oil reserve, has been experiencing an economic crisis, with the IMF predicting inflation to reach 1,000,000 percent before the end of 2018. As a result, many Venezuelans are fleeing to neighboring South American countries, which have seen a 900 percent increase in Venezuelan migrants.

But for those who remain, access to food, medicine and basic goods remains a struggle.

PHOTO: Customers stand in a practically empty Las Pulgas market, where vegetables and fruit are normally sold, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Aug. 19, 2018.Fernando Llano/AP
Customers stand in a practically empty Las Pulgas market, where vegetables and fruit are normally sold, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Aug. 19, 2018.

PHOTO: A customer smells a piece of spoiled meat at a market in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Aug. 19, 2018.Fernando Llano/AP
A customer smells a piece of spoiled meat at a market in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Aug. 19, 2018.

In a 2018 survey conducted by three leading universities in Venezuela, 6 out of every 10 Venezuelans reported an average weight loss of 11 kilograms (24 pounds) over the last year. Nine out of 10 Venezuelans are unable to afford food for daily consumption, according to the survey.

In a special report by ABC News, a couple, Vanessa and Adolfo Posada, both teachers, said that they alternate meals so their son can eat.

PHOTO: Government supporters line up to buy government subsidized arepas and juice, after a rally for President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 1, 2018.Meridith Kohut/The New York Times/Redux
Government supporters line up to buy government subsidized arepas and juice, after a rally for President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 1, 2018.

“It pains me so much, being a professional and having no future, “ Vanessa told ABC. “There is no future here.”

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