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Massive power failure hits Chile

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A widespread power failure has left 10 million people across Chile without electricity, exposing the fragility of the energy grid in the world’s top copper producer.

The blackout, which paralyzed large areas of the country, was sparked by a problem in the Chile’s national grid on Saturday. It occurred at 8:30 p.m. local time (23:30 GMT) and affected a 1,300-kilometer stretch of the narrow, coast-hugging country including the Capital, Santiago.

Power had mostly been restored by late Saturday, according to Energy Minister Rodrigo Alvarez, AFP reported.

A mob of about 200 looters ransacked a supermarket in the Santiago suburb of Quilicura during the blackout, a police official told TVN public television.

The looters clashed with police, and as a result one youth suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. A 26-year-old man was also arrested at the scene.

This was the second massive blackout in Chile since an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the South American nation on February 27, 2010 and severely damaged its electrical distribution system.


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