Electrical energy restored in elements of Venezuela as blackout drags on

CARACAS, March 8 (Xinhua) — Venezuela’s capital Caracas was calm on Friday despite waking up to a nearly nationwide blackout that entered its second day, local authorities said.

By early afternoon, electricity was restored to at least 10 Caracas districts after 20 hours without service, and to several eastern states.

Early in the day, the government of President Nicolas Maduro ordered schools and government offices remain closed due to the power outage.

However, some essential services continued, and local residents could still go to work using public transit that was still available.

The Simon Bolivar International Airport serving Caracas announced via Twitter that it was functioning, with officials activating a “contingency plan to keep operations in the areas of national and international arrivals and departures going.”

The governor of north-central Miranda state, Hector Rodriguez, said via social networks that his office was working “in coordination with all government agencies to attend to the eventualities of the electricity sabotage.”

Authorities “at all levels” were ensuring hospitals, security systems and transport networks continue to operate, said Rodriguez.

“We are calling for calm. Together we will defeat this blow to electricity,” he added.

Late Thursday, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Venezuela was suffering from “technical and cybernetic sabotage” at the nation’s central hydroelectric plant, which affected nearly the whole country as of 5 p.m.

The plant at the Guri dam in southeast Venezuela supplies up to 65 percent of the country’s hydroelectric energy, according to 2015 government data.

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