Fridges zapped off in kitchens across Venezuela as the government turned off the electricity supply to help ease a power shortage that is worsening the country’s economic crisis.

It is the latest drastic measure by the government in a crisis that already has Venezuelans queuing for hours to buy scarce supplies in shops.

The government imposed a four-hour blackout in eight states starting Monday and said the measure will last 40 days. The states of Caracas and Vargas had also been on the list for blackouts but were spared at the last minute.

The timing of the switch-off caught Pedro Tarazona by surprise at his shop in the town of Santa Teresa del Tuy southeast of Caracas.

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