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National Blackout: Bangladesh Hit By Massive Power Outage

A customer walks past a sales counter in a shopping mall during a blackout in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday. Bangladesh was hit by a nationwide blackout on Saturday after a transmission line bringing electricity from neighboring India failed.
A.M. Ahad

An electrical link that supplies Bangladesh's power grid with electricity from India failed Saturday, plunging most of the country into a blackout. Attempts to restore power met only with limited success before officials finally made a breakthrough late Saturday.

Most of the country's population of more than 160 million people went without electricity for more than 8 hours.

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET: Power Returns To Many

"Bangladesh breathed easier close to midnight on Saturday with power being restored to 80 percent areas of the country," reports BDNews24.com.

The improvement comes after residents reported being nervous about possible crimes.

"I haven't even gone to mosque for my evening prayers," one man tells The Daily Star. "With the whole neighborhood in darkness, we don't feel safe inside our house either."

We've tweaked this post to reflect that news.

Our original post continues:

The blackout struck around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, reportedly after a connection that brings power in from India tripped.

"The sudden vacuum caused disruption of power generation at all power plants across the country," The Daily Star reports. Some efforts to produce power succeeded – but only for a short time, as those sources were overwhelmed by demand.

Hospitals and airports used emergency generators to continue operating, the newspaper says. But that step didn't allow technicians to use power-intensive machines such as some scanning equipment, the newspaper adds.

"The sudden blackout has pushed the prices of candles up," BDNews24 says. "Hundreds were seen lining up in front of petrol stations in [the capital city of] Dhaka to get diesel for power generators."

"It will take time" to restore power, BDNews24 quoted State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid saying.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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