CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelans on Monday converged on a polluted river in Caracas to fill water bottles and held scattered protests in several cities as a growing sense of chaos took hold in a country where people have had little power, water and communications for days.
A three-year-old girl with a brain tumor languished in a Caracas hospital, awaiting treatment after doctors started surgery but then suspended the operation when nationwide power outages first hit on Thursday, said the girl’s fearful mother, who only gave her first name, Yalimar.
“The doctors told me that there are no miracles,” said Yalimar, who hopes her daughter can be transferred Tuesday to one of the few hospitals in Venezuela that would be able to finish the complex procedure.
The girl’s story highlighted an unfolding horror in Venezuela, where years of hardship for millions of people got abruptly worse after the power grid collapsed, intensifying the country’s long-running misery. On Monday, schools and businesses were closed, long lines of cars waited at the few gasoline stations with electricity and hospitals cared for many patients without power. Generators have alleviated conditions for some of the critically ill.
There were also acts of kindness: people whose food would rot in fridges without power donated it to a restaurant, which cooked it for distribution to charitable foundations and hospitals.
Information about developments across the country was difficult to gather because communications were unreliable. Engineers restored power in some areas, but it often goes out again.