Power restored in Pakistan after nationwide blackout

Power restored in Pakistan after nationwide blackout
Motorists drive through a residential area during a power blackout in Pakistan's port city of Karachi early on January 10, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 10 January 2021

Power restored in Pakistan after nationwide blackout

Power restored in Pakistan after nationwide blackout
  • The latest blackout, which lasted roughly 18 hours in most areas, was caused by “an engineering fault” in southern Pakistan
  • It tripped the system and caused power plants to shut down, Pakistan’s power minister said

ISLAMABAD: Power supply was restored across Pakistan Sunday after the country was hit by a massive electricity blackout, officials said.
The electricity distribution system in the nation of more than 210 million people is a complex and delicate web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide.
The latest blackout, which lasted roughly 18 hours in most areas, was caused by “an engineering fault” in southern Pakistan at 11:41 p.m. local time on Saturday (1841 GMT), which tripped the system and caused power plants to shut down, power minister Omar Ayub Khan told a press conference in Islamabad.
Experts were however trying to determine the precise details of what happened as well as “the exact location of the fault,” the power minister said, adding that it would take time as the area was still covered in dense fog.
A spokesman from the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) reported that “all 500KV and 200KV grid stations and transmission lines have started supplying electricity” and that “the power supply has been restored across Pakistan.”
Jokes and memes flooded Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, mostly ridiculing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and its performance after the breakdown.
“Power breakdown in Pakistan is blackmailing Imran Khan,” tweeted Musarrat Ahmedzeb in reference to the premier’s recent statement accusing Shiite protesters of blackmailing him after the killing of 10 miners.
“What a start for the new year... let us seek Allah the Almighty’s mercy,” read another tweet, while a message on WhatsApp said: “new Pakistan sleeps in a night mode.”
There were no immediate reports of disruption at hospitals, which often rely on backup generators.
Netblocks, which monitors Internet outages, said web connectivity in the country “collapsed” as a result of the blackout.
Connectivity was at “62 percent of ordinary levels,” it said in a tweet.
The outage marked Pakistan’s second major power breakdown in less than three years. In May 2018, power was partially disrupted for more than nine hours.
In 2015, an apparent rebel attack on a key power line plunged around 80 percent of Pakistan into darkness.
That blackout, one of the worst in Pakistan’s history, caused electricity to be cut in major cities nationwide, including Islamabad, and even affected one of the country’s international airports.


Lack of coordination will prolong pandemic and cost lives, says UN chief

Lack of coordination will prolong pandemic and cost lives, says UN chief
Updated 27 min 53 sec ago

Lack of coordination will prolong pandemic and cost lives, says UN chief

Lack of coordination will prolong pandemic and cost lives, says UN chief
  • Antonio Guterres said ‘vaccinationalism’ — where rich countries hoard vaccines and the poor get none — is a self-defeating strategy
  • In a video message released as the global death toll reached 2 million, he said ‘COVID-19 cannot be beaten one country at a time’

NEW YORK: UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that a lack of global coordination in efforts to end the coronavirus crisis will prolong the pandemic and cause more deaths, particularly in poorer countries.
In a video message released as the global COVID-19 death toll reached the “heart-wrenching” milestone of 2 million lives lost, he appealed for countries to work more closely together to end the pandemic and its cycle of death.
It took 10 months after the disease emerged in December 2019 to reach the first “grim milestone” of 1 million dead at the end of September last year. That number has now doubled in less than four months.
In addition to the human cost, the pandemic has wreaked havoc in the economies of almost every nation. Many people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, with millions forced into poverty and hunger worldwide.
Guterres said that behind that staggering 2 million figure are the names and faces of real people who were taken from their families.
“The smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” Guterres said as he calling for greater international solidarity “in memory of those two million souls.”
As safe and effective vaccines are approved and rolled out, the UN is supporting the largest global immunization operation in history. Guterres stressed that the organization is committed to ensuring vaccines are treated as a global public resource — the “people’s vaccines.”
With that in mind, he called for full funding of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator — a global collaboration that aims to speed up the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, ensuring fair access to them — and its COVAX Facility, an initiative involving 64 higher-income countries that is working to ensure vaccines reach all those in most dire need. It was set up in response to a call by G20 leaders in March last year and launched the following month by the WHO and partners including the EU, France, the UK, Canada and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The world’s leading economies have a special responsibility,” said Guterres, denouncing what he described as “a vaccine vacuum” created by rich countries buying up vaccine supplies, leaving none for the world’s poorest nations. Some countries are “pursuing side deals, even procuring beyond need,” he added.
While all governments have a responsibility to protect their populations, Guterres warned that indulging in such “vaccinationalism” is self-defeating and will delay a global recovery.
“COVID-19 cannot be beaten one country at a time,” he added.
The UN chief called on all countries to share excess doses of vaccine so that health workers around the world can be inoculated as a matter of urgency to prevent the collapse of health systems, and so that those on front line of the battle against the pandemic and its effects can be prioritized, including humanitarian workers and people in high-risk populations.
As the virus continues to spiral out of control in a number of countries, Guterres urged caution and called on everyone to take precautions to protect the most vulnerable in society and slow the spread of infections.
“As the science continues to blaze new trails of hope, let’s also remember the simple and proven steps we can all take to keep each other safe: wearing masks, physically distancing and avoiding crowds,” he added.