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Widespread power outage hits Venezuela, hospitals becoming large-scale morgues

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Another widespread power outage took place in Venezuela on October 15 and 16, 2018. The outage affected the entire country and hospitals in 16 states, leaving at least 3 patients dead. At least 16 children have died at one hospital this year due to poor hygiene, and there are reports of deaths of other minors due to a variety of conditions, including malnutrition.

According to the Ministry of Electric Energy of Venezuela, the latest power outage started after an explosion of an electrical transformer in the interior of the country, leaving most of the country without power on Monday and Tuesday, October 15 and 16. 

Hania Salazar, the president of the nursing association in the state of Zulia, told ABC News that hospitals in Venezuela are becoming large-scale morgues.

"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.

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% before the end of 2018. As a result, many Venezuelans are fleeing to neighboring South American countries, which have seen a 900%  increase in Venezuelan migrants.

"We have now reached a crisis point in Venezuela," UN and IAHRC experts said October 1, urging the government to act urgently to mobilize the necessary and available resources, including through international cooperation, to restore the healthcare system in the country.

"Access to healthcare, a fundamental responsibility of the State, is in a serious state of decay. It is shocking that hospitals themselves have become a place where people’s lives are being put at risk."

Featured image: Slums in Caracas seen above El Paraíso tunnel

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