16 million people in northeast Brazil without electricity yesterday

For two hours yesterday, 16 million people were without electricity in northeastern Brazil.

The cause was put down to fires in the state ofPiauí which saw the power level in the north-east drop from 10,000 mW to 1,000 mW.

This power outage highlighted the weaknesses in the infrastructure in some areas:  some hospitals were left without power because they do not have emergency generators, causing nurses to have to operate manual ventilating machines for patients who are unable to breath unaided.