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I think I’ve found the stop-cock! Labourer goes to extraordinary lengths to fix broken pipe
23:25 GMT, 29 November 2012
Everyone loves watching men at work. In Britain, they can usually be observed gazing into a hole and shaking their collective heads.
On the other side of the world, however, you get a real show.
This police motorcyclist couldn’t believe the lengths one labourer in Caracas went to mend a broken water pipe.
Water works: A police officer looks surprised at the partially submerged man before he goes under water to repair a broken pipe in Caracas
The workman well and truly got his hands dirty to deal with the problem – diving into the filthy water up to his neck.
The South American city – which has one of the highest murder rates in the world – has a population of more than six million people.
Incredibly, Caracas loses over half of its drinkable water resources through leaks in damaged pipe networks, according to an official from the public utility company Hidrocapital.
The problem became so bad two years ago that large parts of the city were without water for up to 48 hours after officials began rationing to conserve drinking supplies.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blamed the unseasonably dry weather for the shortages.
But his critics accused him of failing to invest in the city’s water system.
In the pipeline: The worker goes beyond protocol and dives below the surface of the filthy water to fix the pipe
‘Of the water that leaves the reservoirs and enters the system, more than 50% is lost to leaks in the pipelines,’ the official said.
Insufficient maintenance was blamed as one of the main problems.
In some of the poorer parts of the city, the pipes are so badly damaged residents relied on emergency supplies of clean drinking water, delivered every 11 days by tanker.
Norberto Bausson, director of a Venezuelan water institute, told the BBC in 2010 that the problems in Caracas were the result of the water delivery system not growing at the same rate as the city over the past decade.
Venezuela is still struggling to overcome the chaos caused by an oil plant explosion in the summer that left 48 people dead.
Scores of underground oil, gas and water pipes were damaged by the massive blast caused by a gas leak at the Amuay oil refinery on the Paraguana Peninsula.
Many of the dead were National Guard soldiers stationed at a post near the storage tanks.
The explosion caused widespread damage to the crippled working-class neighbourhoods around the refinery.