- Venezuelans facing ongoing power outages have made lamps out of ketchup bottles and kerosene to break up the darkness.
- Dinora Lucia Villalba Navarro, who lives in Maracay, told INSIDER that she taught other people to make the lamps since electricity and fuel became hard to come by.
- Periodic blackouts have plagued the country since a crippling, week-long blackout in March, which made people desperate for water and brought thousands out in protest.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Crippling power outages in Venezuela are driving people to create makeshift lamps out of from ketchup bottles and kerosene to avoid living in darkness.
Dinora Lucia Villalba Navarro, an engineer who lives in the northern Venezuelan city of Maracay, told INSIDER that she and her husband made their own lamps as blackouts plagued the country in March.
She sent a photo of the kerosene lamps to INSIDER, which shows lit wicks in empty Heinz glass bottles.
The image was published yesterday as part of a photo series on what life is life under Venezuela’s economic meltdown.
She said that she taught her brother to make them after he broke his nose during the blackouts, and she also taught her friends and colleagues.
She said they were popular because they are cheap and easy to make, and don’t require other materials that are hard to find, like batteries.
Villalba’s lamps are an example of the way that Venezuelans have had to adopt since nationwide blackouts started to hit the country in March.
Blackouts that began on March 7 left much of Venezuela in darkness for almost a week, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that has pushed three million people to leave the country.
Venezuelans posted videos to social media that showed their taps running with black water during the blackout, and other Venezuelans sent photographs to INSIDER that showed people collecting water from a leaking sewage drain after the outages stopped the flow of water into their homes.
Thousands of people protested against the blackouts at the end of March.
Intermittent blackouts have plagued the country since, and power still cuts out in Maracay.
Villalba said that she can’t get reliable access to light sources, a refrigerator, water, gas, a phone service, ATMs, or the internet.
She said these blackouts forced her family to become more inventive: “With so many days without electricity, one needs a generator, which many of us don’t have.”
Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro blamed the power outages on a “terrorist attack against the electricity system,” blaming President Donald Trump and his US-backed opposition, Juan Guaidó, who describes himself as the rightful leader of the country.
But Guaidó and analysts say the outages were caused by corruption and poor upkeep of the system.
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