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Venezuelans resort to drinking from sewage drains as nation's massive power blackout continues

'How do you tell a child that there's no water?'

Image source: Reuters video screenshot

Venezuela is entering its seventh day of a power blackout, which has left homes without water.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Venezuelans are so desperate for drinking water that they've resorted to using sewage drains to hydrate themselves.

What are the details?

Venezuelans were hit by the blackout on Thursday.

President Nicolás Maduro blames the widespread blackout on an alleged covert American attack, but critics of the socialist leader say the blackout is his fault.

In response to the blackouts, Maduro closed schools and government agencies.

Lilibeth Tejedor, a Venezuelan citizen, said that she began using a drain pipe feeding sewage into a river in Caracas for her water supply.

The 28-year-old woman wasn't the only one to fill up plastic containers of water — many others gathered at the ravine for the same reason.

Reuters reported that the water coming from the drain pipe was clear, but noted that it was traveling through unsanitary pipes, and the government said the water should only be used for flushing toilets and cleaning floors.

"Those who gathered to collect it said the water had been released by local authorities from reservoirs," Reuters reporters Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera wrote. However, state-run reservoirs are running dangerously low.

Tejedor said that she has three small children in her care who desperately need water.

"I've never even seen this before," she said. "It's horrible, horrible. ... The ones that are most affected are the children, because how do you tell a child that there's no water?"

Many of Tejedor's fellow Venezuelans are beginning to worry about a rampant spread of disease due to drinking possibly contaminated water and the inability to clean anything — including themselves — properly.

Gladys Martinez is another woman affected by the blackouts.

"They're killing us with hunger and thirst," she said.

Jose Velez, another man who ventured down to the river to collect runoff, said, "I'm not interested in these politicians, they never agree on anything. I want my life to go back to normal."


What did Maduro say?

On Tuesday, Maduro said that the power will be brought back online "little by little."

"It isn't easy," Maduro said, noting that the country would "recover slowly." Maduro also said he believed "more attacks" could be imminent.

"We are on the right side of history," he insisted. "We are on the way to a great victory from the greatest blow ever delivered to Venezuela."

Read more on the background of the blackout here.

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