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Argentina: 'state of emergency' declared as power and water supplies fail during heatwave

Argentina: 'state of emergency' declared as power and water supplies fail during heatwave
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Officials in Buenos Aires have declared a state of emergency during a heatwave where temperatures are averaging 36 degrees Celsius.

Power cuts and water shortages are affecting hundreds of families throughout Argentina, causing the hospitalisation of some frailer residents.

Three people have reportedly died as a result of the heatwave.

Some have been without water or power for up to fourteen days.

“Without water it’s unbearable,” one man explained. “You cannot live. Above the tenth floor, within 48 hours, it’s a death trap. If there is sun and 38 or 39 degrees – as they are saying – the firefighters are going to bring down bodies.”

Another man called on utility companies and the government to take action.

“It’s a shame, it’s the first thing that comes to mind,” he said. “It’s a shame. The truth is that you shouldn’t play with people. I’m talking about the electricity companies, politicians, everything. I’m very angry.”

People are protesting on the streets of Buenos Aires, reportedly angry that the country’s electricity grid has not been upgraded to cope with situations such as this.

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

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

He added that the electricity companies “have to face people,” saying: “Sanctions will aggravate minute by minute if they don’t do what they have to do and that is to assume their role.”

The Argentine government has blamed Edenor and Edesur for the outages and threatened to nationalise the firms.