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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Southwestern Colombia without gas for several days due to an “underground fire”

In Colombia, the distribution of natural gas gradually resumed Thursday evening, after a mega blackout that deprived the entire south-west of the country of gas for four days. Authorities say the outage was caused by an “underground fire,” a natural geological phenomenon.

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The failure is unusual. It is due to the sudden rise in the temperature of the basement, on the outskirts of one of the country’s volcanoes, Cerro Bravo, which gave the alert. Technicians initially feared an imminent volcanic eruption. The city gas distribution company decided, as a precaution, to turn off the tap, says our correspondent in Bogota, Marie-Eve Detoeuf.

Six million people affected

This created panic in homes and in restaurants across the southwest. Six million people were deprived of gas. On the sidewalks of the towns of Pereira, Manizalez or even Cali, people lit small fires and took out the pots. Two-thirds of Colombia’s 50 million depend on gas for cooking, according to the Colombian Natural Gas Association. On social networks, humor followed. “ Swap camping stove for 5G phone “. In cities using buses running on natural gas, public transport is paralyzed.

The right-wing opposition obviously used the gas shortage to criticize the government. “ You wanted socialism, you got it “, launched the senator Maria Fernanda Cabal, leader of the hard right. As a reminder, the left-wing president Gustavo Petro has promised to set his country on the path to energy transition. He announced that he no longer wanted to hydrocarbon exploration contract. For opponents, the mega blackout came as a reminder that Colombia cannot live without gas.

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