3,000 Hidroituango workers were left without food due to the protest of a nearby community

Archive photo.  Workers participate in the construction of the Hidroituango hydroelectric plant in Ituango, Colombia, April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa González
Archive photo. Workers participate in the construction of the Hidroituango hydroelectric plant in Ituango, Colombia, April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa González

On behalf of the blockade that the community in the vicinity of the Hidroituango energy megagenerator has been carrying out since Tuesday, October 3, demanding that the bodies of two men who fell into one of the surrounding rivers be rescued to the hydroelectric plant, worsened to the point that the people who work there were left without food, as indicated by the Public Companies of Medellín (EPM) through a statement.

“The lives of more than 3 thousand workers and contractors who work in Hidroituango and the country’s energy security are at risk. due to the blockade of the river and land access routes to the Hidroituango plant that (…) is carried out by a group of people as a measure of pressure so that EPM has divers in the search for two people who disappeared since last Sunday in the mouth of the San Andrés River to the reservoir (sic),” they reported.

They remembered that they are the emergency care entities that have the duty to carry out these tasks, but they are also providing them with support.

“Although this task of searching for missing persons corresponds to the relief agencies, the Company, under the principle of solidarity enshrined in article 3 of Law 1523 of 2012 and the harmonious collaboration between State entities, supports the Toledo fire department with the supply of two boats with their drivers, drone overflights with specialized personnel, hydration for first responders, psychosocial support for families of the missing and lodging (sic)”, they highlighted.

Nevertheless, They asked them to lift the blockade on the community because the inhabitants of the towns that are in the vicinity of the hydroelectric plant are at risk of shortages.

“Not only does it impact the Hidroituango plant, it also impacts the neighboring municipalities, especially the inhabitants of Ituango, generating impacts on commerce, the supply of gas, groceries and food, and health care.” not being able to transfer patients. Added to this is the impossibility of using the alternative route that connects the town of Puerto Valdivia with the dam site, affecting the mobility of the inhabitants of the villages of the municipalities of Briceño, Ituango and Valdivia (sic),” they added.

In addition, this situation continues the supply of electricity for the country as well. would be affected by the impossibility of workers being able to continue with their work.

“If the blockade continues it will be necessary suspend the energy production of units 1 and 2 of the plant, which have been delivering 600 continuous megawatts to the National Interconnected System (6% of national energy demand); This generation represents a significant contribution to the country’s energy reliability and mitigates the effects of the El Niño phenomenon on the price of energy,” they noted in EPM.

Even There would be serious risks for the rest of the communities located in the vicinity of the energy generator. because its security infrastructure is compromised.

“The operation of the spillway gates and the 500 kilovolt substation is also compromised, with an increased risk for communities located downstream of the dam. In the same way, the infiltration water pumping systems of the project’s caverns are affected, which prevent it from flooding and losing control of the work. Today, the operation of many equipment and systems is at high risk, all of which are crucial for the stability of the national electrical system and for the safety of downstream communities (sic),” they stated.

The accident by which The two men disappeared occurred in the San Andrés de Cuerquia River, whose strong current swept them away.

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