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Life continues in India after power blackouts

August 2, 2012

HYDERABAD, India — Three of CFCA's eight projects in India were affected by recent power blackouts. These projects serve nearly 10,000 sponsored friends and their families.

Remote road in India
Many children and elderly sponsored through CFCA in India live in
remote villages without access to electricity. This photo of a remote
road in India was taken in March 2012 by a CFCA staffer.

However, many of the families CFCA serves in India live in remote areas that have no access to electricity.

"Most of the sponsored friends and their families are from villages, and the majority of the villages do not have any power supply," said P. Selvaraj, coordinator of CFCA's project in Bhagalpur. "So this power cut didn't affect them. The sponsored children and youth who are living in towns were affected."

The power blackouts began July 30 and continued July 31 after electricity grids failed across India, leaving half the nation without electricity, according to news reports. Power was fully restored Aug. 1.

CNN reported that an estimated 600 million people were affected as public transport ground to a halt and air conditioning failed in the summer heat.

The Bhagalpur, Bhagalpur-Dumka and Delhi projects affected by the blackouts are situated in northern and northeastern India.

"Public transport was majorly affected," said V.K. Dass, coordinator of CFCA's project in Delhi. "Trains were stopped on the tracks. … Even traffic signals did not work. Because of this, traffic was jammed and it became very difficult to reach homes, offices and schools."

Dass also said that the blackouts caused water shortages for residential areas, schools and business offices. Some schools closed for the day.

Vincent Murmu, coordinator of CFCA's Bhagalpur-Dumka project, said that area power blackouts are common and people take steps to adjust to life without electricity.

"As power goes quite often people, mostly in the towns, always arrange for alternatives such as generators," Murmu said.

That approach was also apparent in CFCA's Delhi project, which has a backup generator in its office.

"Although we have a generator facility in our office, it is difficult to run for the whole day," Dass said. "So we worked in the dark on that day."

CFCA serves more than 31,000 sponsored children, youth and elderly through its eight projects in India.

CFCA communications liaison Sreekanth Gundoji in Hyderabad, India, contributed information for this report.

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