Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that “President Nicolas Maduro has decided to resume work activities throughout the country” on Thursday. He added, “School activities remain suspended for another 24 hours.”
He urged people to unplug appliances and turn off lights. “Help us to help you,” he said.
CNN teams on the ground said power has been restored in many parts of Caracas, but not everywhere.
The minister said 80% of country and 70% of Caracas now has drinking water.
Meanwhile, the widespread power outage has left parts of the country vulnerable to vandalism and looting. Images showed stores in a shopping mall in the city of Maracaibo with their fronts smashed and shelves bare.
On Wednesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “We are very concerned about the serious humanitarian impact that the power outage is having in Venezuela, as well as about reported incidents of looting and violence throughout the country.”
The Information Minister used to the press conference to accuse supporters of the opposition leader, and Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, of trying to bring down the electrical grid by plugging in all their appliances.
He said military exercises have been “ordered this weekend to protect the electric grid.”
Guaido told CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in a weekend interview that the Maduro government’s accusations of a US cyberattack were absurd. Venezuela’s main power plant is full of aging, analog machinery not connected to any network, he said.
“We are in the middle of a catastrophe that is not the result of a hurricane, that is not the result of a tsunami,” Guaido said. “It’s the product of the inefficiency, the incapability, the corruption of a regime that doesn’t care about the lives of Venezuelans.”
Guaido said the private sector had lost at least $400 million from power outages.
Venezuela’s National Assembly approved a request Monday from Guaido to respond to the widespread outages with a “national state of emergency.” The decree will allow the National Assembly to seek international cooperation or foreign intervention.
Meanwhile, Venezuelans in the northern state of Carabobo turned on their water Wednesday to find it had turned black.
According to León Jurado, the Mayor of the San Diego municipality within Carabobo, the water issue was down to “human error” and not related to the power outage.
“My understanding is that at 5 a.m. we received the reports that the pumps stopped pumping, and what was in the tubes stayed in the tubes,” Mayor Jurado said. “They are cleaning the pipes. At this moment, there is no water service.”
Amid the difficulty of the week-long power outage across Venezuela, the incident adds to the problems many people already face getting access to clean drinking water in this state.