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Last Updated: Tuesday January 04 2011 16:00 GMT

Northern Ireland water crisis closes a dozen schools

A man collects bottled water supplies at the height of the water crisis

Schools in Northern Ireland were forced to close on Tuesday because of the damage caused by the burst pipe crisis.

Twelve schools stayed shut as most kids across the UK returned to the classroom after the Christmas holidays.

At its worst during the holidays, the leaks fiasco left 40,000 people in Northern Ireland without water.

Now only 160 houses are cut off from the water supply, but lots of people are angry about how the water company handled the crisis.

The problems began when pipes that had frozen in the bitter December weather began to thaw out, and burst.

The Scottish Government sent five lorry loads of bottled water on Friday, and two more lorry loads on Saturday.

Local councils and sports centres have been offering people free showers.