The Americas

Venezuela orders 2-day work week to stave off power crisis

  • In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, a boy illuminates his home with a candle during a 24-hour blackout, in the El Calvario neighborhood of El Hatillo, just outside of Caracas, Venezuela. Energy rationing has been added to the hardships faced by Venezuelans overwhelmed by inflation, shortages of food and medicine and rising crime. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, a boy illuminates his home with a candle during a 24-hour blackout, in the El Calvario neighborhood of El Hatillo, just outside of Caracas, Venezuela. Energy rationing has been added to the hardships faced by Venezuelans overwhelmed by inflation, shortages of food and medicine and rising crime. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, residents make their way to a protest against energy rationing after going through a 24-hour blackout, in the El Calvario neighborhood of El Hatillo, just outside of Caracas, Venezuela. Energy rationing has been added to the hardships faced by Venezuelans overwhelmed by inflation, shortages of food and medicine and rising crime. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, residents make their way to a protest against energy rationing after going through a 24-hour blackout, in the El Calvario neighborhood of El Hatillo, just outside of Caracas, Venezuela. Energy rationing has been added to the hardships faced by Venezuelans overwhelmed by inflation, shortages of food and medicine and rising crime. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuela's public employees will work only on Monday and Tuesday as the country grapples with an electricity crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro announced Tuesday that the government was slashing working hours for at least two weeks in a bid to save energy.

Officials said that the water level behind the nation's largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level thanks to a severe drought. Experts say lack of planning and maintenance is also to blame.

The country's socialist administration already gave many public workers Fridays off earlier this month, and on Monday initiated daily four-hour blackouts around the country.

The government is now extending the Friday holidays to grade school teachers.

Venezuelans reacted with disbelief to the news that public workers would hardly be going into the office.