Caracas, a city without running water

Photograph of February 11, 2021 where a woman is observed washing kitchen utensils in a water stream, in Caracas (Venezuela). EFE / Miguel Gutiérrez

 

Jeanette Celis yearns for the rain to fall on the impoverished Caracas neighborhood of La Vega by the end of February in the hope that it could fill half a dozen containers she has around her house.

By EFE / Free translation from Spanish by La Prensa Latina 

Like many in Venezuela, she has been without running water for months.

A sheet of zinc crafted into a makeshift canal transports the rainfall from her roof to an enormous tank outside her house.

Photograph of February 11, 2021 where a man is observed carrying two plastic containers of 25 liters of water each, in Caracas (Venezuela). EFE / Miguel Gutiérrez

 

“My husband is very clever at doing these things,” Celis tells Efe as she explains how the rudimentary gutter works. There are similar contraptions on all of the roofs in La Vega.

ACOMPAÑA CRÓNICA VENEZUELA AGUA***AME7356. CARACAS (VENEZUELA), 23/02/2021.-Fotografía del 11 de febrero del 2021 donde se observa a un hombre cargar una botella de 25 litros de agua, en Caracas (Venezuela). El experto en políticas públicas y director de la ONG local Ojo Avizor, Norberto Baussón, advierte a Efe que la falla en el suministro de agua corriente afecta, en el mejor de los casos, a casi 9 de cada 10 hogares del país. “El porcentaje por región varía entre un 87 % y un 99 % de afectación por falta de agua. Eso lo que quiere decir es que es un problema nacional, no un problema asociado a una región o alguna circunstancia”, señala. EFE/ Miguel Gutiérrez

 

Just a few meters away, Kimberly Bruzual tells Efe she does not remember the last time she had running water at home. She has also run out of reserves of rainwater.

To mitigate the shortage, the 19-year-old has to head down to the bottom of the hillside neighborhood to collect water that is occasionally provided by a truck.

The water has to be “reused,” the young mother tells Efe. “I wash the baby with clean water, then I use it to wash diapers, then I chuck it in the toilet.”

Norberto Baussón, director of the local NGO Ojo Avizor, tells Efe that a lack of running water affects nine in 10 families in Venezuela, something he attributes to mismanagement of the country’s aqueducts and a shortage of skilled workers as a result of mass emigration.