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Water Runs Black In Venezuela After Week-Long Power Outage

Venezuela has suffered the worst power outage in its history and now that the lights are being switched back on, the country is faced with a devastating water crisis.

The blackout lasted for a week, affecting at least 18 of its 23 states.

It disrupted lights and transport, cut off telephone and internet services, and forced authorities to declare holidays for public workers and state schools.

But the biggest disruption was and continues to be to the country's water supply.

Residents in San Diego, northern Venezuela, have shared videos of a jet-black, oil-like liquid running from household taps.

"It smell's like [a] sewer", locals said.

In Falcón, residents reported mud like water rushing out of taps because of "decades of galvanised steel pipes rotting in the ground".

While the water shortage situation has been bad for months, the black-out has turned things critical.

"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," Jose Perez told Sky News.

People took to lining the streets for any water they found, some even turned to sewage drains.

People collect water from a truck that delivers water during rolling blackouts, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 12, 2019 IMAGE: Eduardo Verdugo/ AP

It's not yet known what caused the blackout.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has blamed the United States, claiming the electrical system was "the subject of multiple cyber attacks that have caused the fall and have impeded attempts at national reconnection."

His government has also called on the courts to open an investigation into opposition leader Juan Guaido, for allegedly sabotaging the national grid.

Guaido and some energy experts claim it is the result of years of under investment and neglect.

While a new report from the Central University of Venezuela said the mass outage was caused by a bush fire near the Melena substation in the country's east, according to The Guardian.

Hundreds of shops were ransacked in the blackout while more than 300 people were arrested for protests and looting in Caracas, according to the rights group Foro Penal.

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“We don’t want to loot stores, we don’t want to cause problems. What we want is food. We’re hungry,” resident Majorie told the BBC.

Despite the lights coming back on, it's expected to be some time before the impacts of the power cuts are completely understood.

Contact the author khill@networkten.com.au