Venezuelans are now experiencing chronic shortages of water as prolonged blackouts continue to choke the country’s basic ability to function, raising further fears about the severity of the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis.
Residents in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas have been forced to stand in long queues to fill their bottles with water, as regular power outages mean that vital water pumps are unable to operate.
“Caracas depends on a network of reservoirs and pumping systems that are in very poor condition,” David Marrero, a member of the public services team from the El Hatillo municipality, told Bloomberg. “When there is no electricity, there is no pumping, and Caracas runs out of water.”
— Reporte Ya (@ReporteYa) April 2, 2019
Widespread power outages in Venezuela began early last month, with around 70 percent of the country receiving little to no electricity for nearly week. Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime has repeatedly blamed the attacks on Donald Trump and the “fascist right”, but has not provided evidence for such claims.
Despite attempting various repairs on the power systems, blackouts are now occurring at random times, indicating significant damage to the national electrical grid. The crisis is thus wreaking havoc on people’s living standards and forcing the closure of many essential public services such as schools and hospitals. On Sunday, Maduro ordered that the country must begin rationing electricity, claiming he had drawn up at “30-day plan” to tackle the issue.
“In the next 30 days, a special burden-management regime will be implemented to balance the National Electrical Service,” he wrote on Twitter. “This plan will have a special emphasis on not affecting the energy needed to ensure the supply of drinking water.”
“Solamente en Venezuela” or “only in Venezuela” can be heard by those waiting in line hoping to fill up drinking water. This is the socialist dream: all are equally without water. pic.twitter.com/S2Q1XFwqKj
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) April 1, 2019
It is not the first time that Venezuela has been affected by water shortages. Last year, multiple street demonstrations broke out due to water failures mainly affecting the capital Caracas. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked highways around the city to protest the lack of clean water supplies, complaining that it could expose them to infectious diseases.
However, water shortages are just one of the countless hardships faced by Venezuelans on a daily basis, amid what has become one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. Millions of people now have extremely limited access to basic resources including food and medicine, mainly as a result of the collapse in the country’s economy in the wake of Hugo Chávez’s ‘Bolivarian Revolution.’