At least 21 people – six of them babies – have so far died as a result of Venezuela’s shattering nationwide blackout, opposition leaders have claimed as they prepared to hold an emergency debate on the crisis in the capital, Caracas.
“These are not just numbers, these are Venezuelan lives that would not have been lost were it not for the ineptitude of Nicolás Maduro,” tweeted José Manuel Olivares, a doctor and opposition politician who is monitoring its impact on Venezuela’s already debilitated healthcare system.
According to Olivares’s count, 15 patients died in the Manuel Núñez Tovar hospital in the north-eastern city of Maturín after the lights went out there following Thursday’s outage, which has yet to be resolved.
Two newborn babies died in the Hospital de los Magallanes de Catia in Caracas, one of which was suffering from severe malnutrition.
Olivares told the Guardian the number of fatalities would rise as the true extent of the calamity became clearer. The power cut meant it had still not been possible to communicate with many hospitals.
On Monday morning, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó – who most western governments now recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate interim leader – hit out at Maduro, who retains the support of China and Russia. “Our people are still living with the threat of new blackouts while these cynics lie and laugh at pain and death,” Guaidó tweeted.
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