Blackouts: hospitals stop surgeries as Lanka crisis worsens
Colombo – Sri Lanka on Wednesday began imposing record nationwide 10-hour daily power cuts as more hospitals announced the suspension of routine surgeries in re-sponse to severe shortages of fuel and life-saving medicines.
The South Asian nation of 22 mil-lion people is in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, sparked by an acute lack of foreign currency to pay for imports. The state electricity monopoly said it was imposing the 10-hour power cut, up from a seven-hour outage.
since the start of the month, because there was no oil to power thermal generators.
More than 40 percent of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated from hy-dropower, but most of the reservoirs were running dangerously low because there had been no rains, officials said.
Most electricity production is from coal and oil. Both are imported but in short supply, as the country does not have enough foreign exchange to pay for supplies.
At least two more hospitals re-ported suspending routine surgeries be-cause they were dangerously low on vital medical supplies, anaesthetics and chem-icals to carry out diagnostic tests, and wanted to save them for emergency cas-es.
The country’s biggest medical facility, the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, said it had also stopped routine diagnostic tests.
An official added however that the facility continued to receive power supply from the national grid.