Venezuelans are taking water from sewage drains in a desperate search for water.
A water shortage has hit Venezuela during a power outage that left 70% of Venezuela without electricity to pump water. People are struggling to find water, food, soap, and medicine during the ongoing economic collapse. Residents are careful to only use the water for cleaning and sewage.
According to a former government water engineer in Caracas, the capital needs approximately 20,000 liters of water per second for nearby watersheds to maintain service. A week before the blackout the water had dropped to approximately 13,000 liters per second.
Many in the city are worried that the lack of water and soap could increase risk of disease.
“I’ve never even seen this before. It’s horrible, horrible,” Caracas resident Tejedor stated to Reuters.
U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared a “state of alarm” in response to the power outages. Many have used the moment to call on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to resign. Maduro says the power will be restored “little by little” and blamed the outage on an “electronic coup” ordered by the U.S. Energy officials say the outage is likely due to years of neglect.
At least 21 people, including six babies, have died as a result of the outrage, as minimal access to water and medicine inhibits hospitals from treating patients.