You are likely already aware of the various crisis situations imperiling the lives of regular citizens in Venezuela these days as the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro collapses. Unless you are in tight with the ruling party, food is scarce, medical supplies are only available on the black market and violence rocks the streets regularly. But if possible, things are getting even worse.

In the capital of Caracas, the Central Venezuelan University hospital (long recognized as one of the leading medical centers in the region) is almost entirely out of water. And so are the rest of the residents of the city, for that matter. That means that doctors can’t scrub up for surgery or even provide a sterile environment. Surgeries are being canceled and patients can’t even be kept hydrated in some cases. (Reuters)

The Central Venezuelan University hospital, once a Latin American leader, is reeling as taps run dry.

“I have gone to the operation bloc and opened the tap to wash my hands, as you must do before a surgery, and nothing comes out,” said gynecologist Lina Figueria.

Water cuts are the latest addition to a long list of woes for Venezuelans hurting from a fifth year of an economic crisis that has sparked malnutrition, hyperinflation and emigration.

While Maduro’s government is putting out bogus announcements blaming the water shortage on “right-wing terrorists,” the actual reason is the obvious one. Their infrastructure is failing.

Venezuela is not out of water by any means. In fact, most of the country receives plenty, with rain falling an average of 135 days per year. But Caracas sits up in a high valley and most of their potable water is piped in from lower elevations. With nobody left to do the maintenance on their hydraulic systems and no money to buy replacement parts and tools, the system is falling apart. For most of the residents of the capital (outside the government compounds of course) it’s impossible to take a shower. And when people are forced to turn to rainwater runoff or other natural sources, even more diseases typically begin to spread.

But the loss of the hospital should be one of the biggest red flags. They can’t take care of the sick and dying if they can’t even get clean water into the building. Combined with ongoing shortages of medicine, vaccines and food, there’s little hope for patients showing up at the hospital. This was one of their greatest medical centers, drawing patients from far and wide and now it’s effectively crippled because the government is unable to even provide them with the most fundamental requirement for survival.

Venezuela is an empty husk of a country now, quickly falling into third-world status. The citizens there are suffering under the dying throes of socialism and it may take a long time before the government implodes completely. Until then, Venezuelans will continue to flood into Columbia seeking refugee status unless they can find a way to rise up and rid themselves of their tyrant.