Sunken Town Re-Emerges After 25 Years
Two and a half decades ago, Potosi was home to roughly 1,200 residents, Sky News reports. Then, on a fateful day, Venezuela's then president, Carlos Andres Perez, landed in the Andean village in a helicopter with some news. Potosi was to be evacuated and flooded, its residents relocated, its colonial church and homes abandoned.
A hydroelectric dam was built, and the Uribante Reservoir rose until its waters had covered all but the steeple to Potosi's cathedral.
Now, a devastating drought has gripped Venezuela, and water levels at Uribante Reservoir have fallen by nearly 90 feet, exposing what remains of Potosi. The church, grave markers, ruins of demolished houses and footprint of the old town square have reappeared.
Scientists say El Nino, the same weather pattern that has brought heavy snow and rain to the United States this winter, is responsible for Venezuela's worst drought in decades.
Venezuela uses hydroelectric power for its electricity needs, but because of the extended drought reservoirs like the one that had swallowed up Potosi have been running close to dry, resulting in nationwide energy rationing.