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Buenos Aires citizens protest power outages

31 December 2013 11:38

342919_Argentina-protest

Citizens in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, have protested over power outages and water shortages amid an ongoing heat wave.

Protesters blocked off main roads to Buenos Aires and burned garbage bags and tires.

They are demanding government to take action against the shortages, which have affected many parts of the capital. A number of residents have been without water and power for up to two weeks.

This is while the city is hit by the worst heat wave in at least four decades.

“The electricity came on the 24th, we had it until the evening of the 25th and we haven’t had any more until today. This is a disaster. On top of this nobody comes, nobody shows their faces, not Edesur (utility company), not the mayor’s office, nobody shows their face,” said Gabriel Jano, a Buenos Aires citizen.

The heat wave has reportedly caused the death of three people and the hospitalization of a number of fragile residents as temperatures have soared to 44 degrees Celsius.

Firefighters have evacuated people living in high-rise buildings and emergency workers have delivered water to residents.

On Sunday, Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Marci declared a state of emergency for the capital and blamed the power cuts on President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government for not releasing “transparent information” and “leaving the people abandoned.”

“We are very critical of how they (government officials) have managed the power grid, we have said it not just once but we have been saying it for almost a decade, and this is only the result of bad policies,” said Marci.

However, the Argentinean government has put the blame for the power cuts on the utility companies Edenor and Edesur and threatened to nationalize the firms.

Argentina’s Planning and Public Services Minister Julio De Vido has urged the two utility companies to take “social responsibility” for restoring power.

“With extraordinary temperatures over the past days, a heat wave beyond comparison, companies have not been up to (Argentina’s) industrial development and growth,” said De Vido.

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