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“This Country Has Gone To Hell”: Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout

“This Country Has Gone To Hell”: Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout

Venezuela’s oil capital, Maracaibo, was ransacked and looted in the midst of a blackout that hit the country around March 7. Even as the lights started to come back on, looting continued and residents overpowered disputed President Nichloas Maduro’s security forces. Store owners are just now starting to clean up, according a new Bloomberg article, which paints a picture of Venezuela as a country on the edge of total anarchy. 

Enrique Gonzalez, an 18 year old bus conductor said: “If people made enough to make ends meet, we wouldn’t be trying to get by like this. This country has gone to hell.” His driver, at the time, was pillaging a Pepsi warehouse, where thousands of bottles had been looted in hours and where people were now ripping out spare copper wire and scrap metal. 

Empresas Polar SA, a Venezuelan food giant, reportedly saw its Pepsi plant lose thousands of cases of beer and soda, 160 pallets of food, 22 trucks and five forklifts. A home improvement shopping center also saw its 50 stores looted by people who broke through its iron gates and glass doors. Travel agencies, cosmetic stands and snack shops were all pillaged among the chaos. 

Bernardo Morillo, 60, who built and manages the mall told Bloomberg: “It’s hard to swallow. The national guard stood by as this vandalism happened and the firefighters didn’t even show.’’

Ricardo Costa, vice president of the Zulia state chapter of the Fedecamaras business group said: “…security forces were useless as people took anything of value, including cash machines, door frames, ovens, computers and surveillance cameras…”

The country’s Centro 99 food market saw looters pick its shelves clean. “They even carried off the lard and flour to bake bread in their bare hands,’’ the store’s manager said. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Looters Pillage Venezuela Supermarkets As Crippling Blackout Hits Day Five

Looters Pillage Venezuela Supermarkets As Crippling Blackout Hits Day Five

Looting and violence are rapidly on the rise as Venezuela enters its fifth day without power across most of the country though some reports suggest as much as 30% of power has returned to parts of the capital city Caracas. 

The UK Daily Mail has published a series of shocking photographs showing the aftermath of mobs looting supermarkets in Caracas as things turn desperate. The already politically unstable Latin American country was plunged into darkness after last Thursday night all but one of 23 statessuffered mass blackouts. Scene after looting in Caracas, via Reuters

As reports of approaching 20 or more deaths at hospitals attempting to operate with faulty back-up generators came in over the weekend, Reuters noted, “Electricity experts said that outage was most likely due to failures in the transmission system, and that the government lacks the equipment and staff to repair them.”

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The scene of looting in Baruta, Caracas earlier today. Security forces arrived in large numbers and eventually gained control of the situation there. #Venezuela

Reuters further described “already-scarce food rotting in shops, homes suffering for lack of water and cell phones without reception.”

And the Daily Mail reported “Pictures reveal that some supermarkets in the capital have been left ransacked by desperate residents as they struggle to find food.”Looting in Caracas, via Reuters

Security personnel have been deployed throughout Caracas to prevent mass looting, though we can imagine that since reports of the water supply being impacted by the outage, people are simply reaching desperation and are attempting any way possible to endure the nightmare circumstances. 

Photographs showed in some instances looters being piled into police trucks and vans — this as US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido over the weekend called for nationwide anti-Maduro protests over the failing infrastructure. Most analysts agree the electrical grid mass failure is the result of generally failing infrastructure after years of underinvestment and neglect

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Catastrophic Power Outage Poses a “Profound Threat” to the US, New Government Report Finds

Catastrophic Power Outage Poses a “Profound Threat” to the US, New Government Report Finds

The United States is not prepared for a catastrophic power outage, according to an alarming new report from the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC).

The report, titled Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage, explains the findings of the council, which is tasked with examining the nation’s “ability to respond to and recover from a catastrophic power outage of a magnitude beyond modern experience, exceeding prior events in severity, scale, duration, and consequence. Simply put, how can the nation best prepare for and recover from a catastrophic power outage, regardless of the cause?”

It begins with a grim statement in the Executive Summary:

After interviews with dozens of senior leaders and experts and an extensive review of studies and statutes, we found that existing national plans, response resources, and coordination strategies would be outmatched by a catastrophic power outage. This profound risk requires a new national focus.

The NIAC defines a catastrophic power outage as:

  • Events beyond modern experience that exhaust or exceed mutual aid capabilities
  • Likely to be no-notice or limited-notice events that could be complicated by a cyber-physical attack
  • Long duration, lasting several weeks to months due to physical infrastructure damage
  • Affects a broad geographic area, covering multiple states or regions and affecting tens of millions of people
  • Causes severe cascading impacts that force critical sectors—drinking water and wastewater systems, communications, transportation, healthcare, and financial services—to operate in a degraded state

Actions that all levels of government need to take to prepare are discussed in the report, as summarized in this chart:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Morning After: Mexican Earthquake Leaves Over 248 Dead, Millions Without Electricity

The Morning After: Mexican Earthquake Leaves Over 248 Dead, Millions Without Electricity

Across central Mexico, rescue workers including soldiers and volunteers worked late into the night Tuesday to free the living who were still trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings following Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in more than 30 years.

The death toll from the 7.1 magnitude quake – which bizarrely occurred on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that left 5,000 dead – has climbed to 248, with more than half of those deaths occurring in the Mexican capital city.  It also comes two weeks after another powerful quake left nearly 100 dead in Mexico City. The quake was unusually close to Mexico City, located just 60 miles south of the capital in Chiautla de Tapia, a small town in neighboring Puebla state, according to Mexico’s seismological service.

More are feared dead, including possibly dozens of teachers and schoolchildren feared buried in the rubble of a Mexico City school, one of hundreds of buildings that was destroyed by the quake, according to Reuters.

Additionally, several buildings collapsed in the chic neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa in central Mexico City, where many foreigners live. In Condesa, rescue workers scrambled to find eight to 10 people believed trapped under the debris of a building that collapsed near Mexico Park, one of the city’s most famous parks. Hundreds of volunteers formed a human chain to help clear rubble and bring food and water to rescue workers.

Mexico was also hit earlier this month by Hurricane Katia, which killed two. Even the Popocatépetl volcano southeast of the city sent a large cloud of ash into the sky on Tuesday. “This is too much. It’s like we’re cursed or something,” said Marcos Santamaría, a 62-year-old retiree.

Philippines and the United Nations have offered to support the recovery effort. At least 30 second-grade students are still missing, along with eight adults.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The EMP Threat: All It Would Take Is A Couple Of Explosions To Send America Back To The 1800s

The EMP Threat: All It Would Take Is A Couple Of Explosions To Send America Back To The 1800s

Our entire way of life can be ended in a single day.  And it wouldn’t even take a nuclear war to do it.  All it would take for a rogue nation or terror organization to bring us to our knees is the explosion of a couple well-placed nuclear devices high up in our atmosphere.  The resulting electromagnetic pulses would fry electronics from coast to coast.  Of course this could also be accomplished without any attack.  Scientists tell us that massive solar storms have hit our planet before, and that it is inevitable that there will be more in the future.  As you will read about below, the most recent example of this was “the Carrington Event” in 1859.  If a similar burst from the sun hit us today, experts tell us that life in America could suddenly resemble life in the 1800s, and the economic damage caused could potentially be in the trillions of dollars.  This is one of the greatest potential threats that we are facing as a nation, and yet Barack Obama has essentially done nothing to get us prepared.

The technology necessary to conduct such an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States has become much more accessible in recent years.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, even rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran either already have or will soon have the capability to hurt us in this way…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Quebec ice storm: Why it’s impossible to storm-proof the power grid

Quebec ice storm: Why it’s impossible to storm-proof the power grid

The ice storm that left an estimated 155,000 Quebecers in the dark this weekend had echoes of the Great Ice Storm of 1998, which left millions of homes in Eastern Canada without electricity for weeks.

This time, power was restored relatively quickly – within 12 hours for the majority of Quebecers – which reflects some of the lessons hydro-electricity producers have taken from the 1998 blackout to make their power grids more reliable.

At the same time, however, they have also resisted some of the more costly ideas from the Great Ice Storm, such as retrofitting entire cities with underground cables.

“I think the industry recognizes that perfect reliability is unaffordable,” says Tom Adams, an independent adviser and researcher in the energy sector.

Current estimates are that it would cost five to 10 times more to distribute electricity to a big city via underground cables, and that not all of nature’s problems would be alleviated even if that were done.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Hydro-Québec Restores Electricity To Most, But 8,500 Still In Dark

Hydro-Québec Restores Electricity To Most, But 8,500 Still In Dark

Freezing rain, high winds and a rapid drop in temperature created a host of problems for people living in the greater Montreal region and elsewhere in southern Quebec.

On Sunday, a dangerous mix of precipitation followed by freezing cold made for extremely slick road conditions.

The weight of the ice that formed on trees caused many to snap, sending large branches down onto sidewalks, roads and power lines.

At the height of the power outages, more than 150,000 Quebecers were without electricity.

Power has been restored to most Hydro-Québec customers, but about 8,500 households and businesses remain in the dark — and could stay that way well into Monday afternoon and even evening, depending on the area.

Hydro-Québec has a map on its website of which neighbourhoods are affected and at what time they expect to have the lights back on. Find out what time the utility expects to restore power by clicking on the voltage sign in your neighbourhood.

 

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