Venezuelans risk illness as they resort to dirty water

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All across Caracas you see the heads of groups of people in muddy holes.

They are surrounded by plastic bottles. They are digging down to find water trickling from ruptured pipes. People are now desperate.

The news spreads like wild fire through the streets of the barrios and even the poshest districts in town.

People start running with buckets and virtually anything they can find to carry water.

Others run in the other direction, trying to get home to tell family members to come with them.

Venezuela’s capital still doesn’t have the power to pump water.

Exposing the burst pipes is the best they can hope for.

Sometimes the trickle of water is agonisingly slow.

They wait in turn and will wait for as long as it takes once they have found a source of water – any source of water.

Jose Perez told us he had taken five hours to gather 20 litres. He has absolutely no idea if the water is clean enough to drink.

“You don’t know where this water is coming from, if it’s treated or not treated, you take water home without knowing the consequences of it in the future,” he told us sitting on a rusty pipe.

“The sad thing about everything we are living through in Venezuela is the sadness of everything happening in our nation, the sadness of what is happening with all of the youth at this time – it’s not a life.”

Some have resorted to gathering water from the Guaire River that runs through the centre of the city. This is really polluted. There are many reports of people, particularly children, getting very ill from contaminated water and food.

There is of course virtually no chance of getting good medicine or medical attention. It was bad before the black out – it’s non existent now.

This crisis caused by the power cut is far from being dealt with.

Above us, on a bridge, a man sees us filming the queue for water. He shouts down.

“This Maduro is an assassin,” he yells.

“The people need to be united and march on Mira Flores (the presidential palace) to get rid of him.”

Many of the people we met demonstrating would doubtless agree.

The opposition called them to the streets to protest against the government of Nicolas Maduro and the chaos caused by the blackout. The government of course blames the leader of the opposition Juan Guaido, saying an investigation has been opened into his activities. Raising the possibility of an arrest warrant for him.

Despite that the opposition took over streets and street corners in places around Caracas, banging pots and pans and holding signs above their heads asking for water. Cars honked their support as they made their way through the crowds.

With the United States promising new sanctions against Venezuela, which could bring even more shortages and disruption here, it is clear that the situation in the country will continue to deteriorate.

The crisis in Venezuela is getting worse.

(c) Sky News 2019: Venezuelans risk illness as they resort to dirty water

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