As the cash-strapped island’s economic crisis worsens, Sri Lanka has announced nationwide 13-hour daily power cuts beginning Thursday. Following this, more hospitals have suspended routine surgeries due to a lack of life-saving medicines.
The 22-million-person South Asian nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948, owing to a severe lack of foreign currency to pay for even basic imports.
The state electricity regulator said Wednesday’s 10-hour power outage would be extended by three hours from Thursday, resulting in a 13-hour rolling nationwide blackout.
The Indian Ocean island nation has been subjected to severe electricity rationing since the beginning of the month, with the monopoly claiming that an earlier increase in power outages from seven to ten hours was imposed due to a lack of fuel.
More than 40% of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydropower, but most reservoirs were dangerously low due to a lack of rain, officials said.
At least two more hospitals reported suspending routine surgeries because they were dangerously low on vital medical supplies, anaesthetics, and chemicals needed to perform diagnostic tests and wanted to save them for emergency situations.
The National Hospital of Sri Lanka in the capital, the country’s largest medical facility, also announced a halt to routine diagnostic tests. However, an official stated that the facility was still receiving power from the national grid.
The country’s electricity regulator has urged more than a million government employees to work from home to save fuel.