Massive power outage hits Panama days ahead of Pope Francis' visit

The water treatment plant serving Panama City was among those knocked out, the country's Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers said on Twitter.

Published: 21st January 2019 02:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2019 04:31 AM   |  A+A-

Pope Francis  (File | AFP)

Pope Francis (File | AFP)


PANAMA CITY: A massive power outage hit Panama on Sunday, three days before the arrival of Pope Francis for a World Youth Day festival, authorities said.

The electric power company ETESA said service to various parts of the country had been affected by "an event in the integrated national system."

"Teams are working to re-establish service as soon as possible," the company said on Twitter.

ETESA, which gave no details on the cause of the outage, said power would be restored gradually.

Despite the outage, the capital city's Tocumen International Airport and the busy and vital Panama Canal were able to activate backup systems and maintain normal operations, authorities said.

ALSO READ: 'Click to Pray' application launched by the Pope ahead of World Youth Day

But water supplies were affected in several parts of the country. The water treatment plant serving Panama City was among those knocked out, the country's Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers said on Twitter.

Domingo Espitia, coordinator of an interagency task force preparing for the papal visit, said that contingency plans had been successfully implemented when the power went out.

"The Panamanian state is prepared for this type of contingency," he told reporters. He said Tocumen airport had maintained "100 percent" of its normal operations.

When traffic lights went out, Espitia added, authorities "immediately took control" to keep traffic moving.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Panama from Wednesday until Sunday, January 27 for the World Youth Day festival, which is expected to draw at least 200,000 people.

In a video released ahead of his trip, Francis said he would urge young people to take on the challenges of poverty, violence and migration and "change the world."

It will be the 26th foreign trip by the Argentine-born pope since he was chosen to lead the Catholic Church in early 2013 -- and the first to Panama.

The last pope to visit was Pope John Paul II during a tour of Central America in 1983.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp