Thousands of Venezuelans spent the night outside the San Antonio de Tachira customs office, after President Nicolas Maduro authorised the border crossings with Colombia to be opened for 12 hours only. The temporary opening of the border gave Venezuelans the opportunity to buy much needed food and medicine, of which supplies are limited in their home country. This is due to severe economic crisis that has caused critical shortages of basic necessities, due to a decline in Venezuela's oil revenues – despite it being one of the largest in the world.

Venezuelan Carmen Velazco described the situation in Venezuela as drastic, telling Reuters: "We don't have food. We don't have cooking oil. We don't have flour. So that is why we have to come here,"

Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens try to cross over the Simon Bolivar international bridge to Colombia to take advantage of the temporary border opening in San Antonio del Tachira, VenezuelaEduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens change money in Villa del Rosario near Cucuta, ColombiaManuel Hernandez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelans wait in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela to cross the border with ColombiaGeorge Castellanos/ AFP

The Colombian government provided bus transportation to take shoppers to the local amenities where they could buy what they needed. Colombian shops accepted the Venezuelan bolivar, with shops shelves being reportedly empty by mid-morning.

Venezuela
Venezuelan border officials allow a Colombian woman to pass at the Simon Bolivar international bridge during the temporary border opening in Cucuta, ColombiaManuel Hernandez/ Reuters
Venezuela
A Venezuelan man shows money as he crosses the border from San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela to Cucuta, Norte de Santander department, ColombiaSchneyder Mendoza/ AFP
Venezuela
Venezuelans show their IDs while they wait in line to to cross the Simon Bolivar international bridge during the temporary border opening in Cucuta, ColombiaManuel Hernandez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelans cross from San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela to Cucuta, ColombiaSchneyder Mendoza/ AFP
Venezuela
Venezuelans wait in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela to cross the border with ColombiaGeorge Castellanos/ AFP

Queues of people filed over the Simon Bolivar international bridge in order to reach the neighbouring country. For many, the luxury of being able to buy simple household goods was a moving moment.

Venezuelan homemaker Ada Marquez told Reuters that she was "crying as I crossed the bridge when I saw the avalanche of people. It's unbelievable to me that all of Venezuela wants to come here, to this neighbouring country, to look for the things we can't get over there. Every day, there are fewer things."

Venezuela
A Venezuelan citizen holds a banner that reads: "Colombia, thank you for your solidarity with Venezuela" at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, ColombiaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens buy goods at the local supermarket to take advantage of the temporary border opening in Cucuta, ColombiaManuel Hernandez/ Reuters

The opening of the border comes only a year after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered it to be closed, in a bid to cut down on smuggling. Colombian Governor William Villamizar of Norte de Santander estimated that roughly 35,000 Venezuelans crossed the border into nearby Colombian cities like La Parada and Cucuta.

Venezuela
A Venezuelan woman carries a bag after shopping in Colombia, taking advantage of the temporary border opening in San Antonio del Tachira, VenezuelaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens are seen carrying bags and packages as they cross the Colombian-Venezuelan border over the Simon Bolivar international bridgeCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
A Venezuelan child carries a pack of toilet paper next to a woman as they cross the Colombian-Venezuelan border over the Simon Bolivar international bridgeCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
A Venezuelan citizen is seen carrying a bag after shopping in Colombia, during the temporary border opening in San Antonio del Tachira, VenezuelaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelans carrying groceries cross the Simon Bolivar bridge from Cucuta in Colombia back to San Antonio de Tachira in VenezuelaGeorge Castellanos/ AFP
Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens buy goods at the local supermarket to take advantage of the temporary border opening in Cucuta, ColombiaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
Venezuelan citizens cross the Simon Bolivar international bridge to take advantage of the temporary border opening in San Antonio del Tachira, VenezuelaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela
A boy carries a package as he crosses the Colombian-Venezuelan border over the Simon Bolivar international bridgeCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters