Spain: Hundreds of Children Left in the Dark during Cold Wave

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Jan. 12, 2021)—Save the Children is warning of a crisis as nearly 2,000 vulnerable children and their families are living without electricity in freezing temperatures in the Madrid region. Up to 20 inches of snow has fallen on the Spanish capital in recent days and temperatures have plunged to -8 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.  

A lack of government action has left families in the informal settlement of La Cañada Real Galiana in an extremely worrying situation and in a crisis that is completely preventable, Save the Children warned. 

The organization is urging the local and national authorities to take immediate action to reestablish the power supply in this area and protect the vulnerable children and their families. 

Catalina Perazzo, Director of Awareness and Childhood Policies at Save the Children Spain, said:

“Children and their families are freezing in their houses. The temperatures have dropped while families have been cut off from electricity because of overloaded power networks that have not been repaired or upgraded. The lack of electricity in the area since October 2020 has left these families in a vulnerable position and at a risk that threatens the fundamental rights of children, including the right to a safe, warm home.

"We are on the verge of a tragedy if we do not act now. It’s incomprehensible that this crisis remains unanswered when the humanitarian emergency is evident," she adds.  

Save the Children has been highlighting families’ inability to afford electricity and how that affects a growing number of children in Spain. To guarantee access to electricity for all families in a vulnerable situation, the organization is also calling for a ban on cutting families off from electricity during these cold periods and for more flexible payment options to be available for vulnerable families. 

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