By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A string of power cuts has been reported in a number of states around Brazil in recent days, leaving thousands temporarily without power and many vital public buildings, most notably Rio’s airport, without air conditioning. The government has been quick to rule out that a lack of investment on its part was the cause of the outages.
President Dilma Rousseff instead blamed “human error,” but admitted that there had been a reduction in maintenance expenditure.
Passengers and workers at Rio’s Galeão International Airport have been left sweltering after a power outage Wednesday night meant the terminal buildings were left without air conditioning, while temperatures in the city again soared to 40°C (104°F).
It comes after the mercury touched 43.1°C (110°F) on Wednesday – the highest official temperature recorded in Rio in nearly a hundred years.
Infraero, the company that runs the airport, says air conditioning systems are now running normally, but passengers and airport staff are reported to have had to carry on enduring stifling temperatures in the terminal buildings.
A technical fault on Wednesday evening at a substation on the Ilha do Governador – the island in the Baía de Guanabara that is home to Rio’s main international airport – meant the entire island, which has a substantial residential population, was left temporarily without power.
Although it was soon fixed, many complained about a general lack of information and the overwhelming heat inside Terminal 1, the building affected.
Rio’s other major airport, Santos Dumont, also reported issues with its air conditioning systems – leading to reports of unbearable heat in the terminal building. The airport had recently rented extra air conditioning units to deal with the heat.
The exceedingly hot temperatures in Rio are expected to continue at least through to the New Year, according to the Centro de Previsão do Tempo e Estudos Climáticos (Centre of Climate Prevision and Climatic Studies, Cptec/Inpe).
Read more (in Portuguese).
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