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Tajikistan Is “Besieged by Snow”

A massive snow storm has hit Tajikistan. Over the last three days, the country has been getting record-breaking amounts of snow, causing a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people. 

The authorities have closed schools, universities, and kindergartens throughout the country. Two major airports, in Kulob and Qurghonteppa, have been shut down. Many flights have been cancelled at the airports in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, and Khujand. The snow has also left some parts of the country cut off from the rest. Avalanches have been reported across the mountainous nation.

Snow in Dushanbe. Image by ASIA-Plus, February 3, 2014, used with permission,

Snow in Dushanbe. Image by ASIA-Plus, February 3, 2014, used with permission.

The snow has also left Dushanbe “at the edge of a collapse” [ru]. The municipal authorities have been unable to remove snow from all but several main streets in the city. As a result, the public transportation system has all but stopped, leaving thousands of people unable to get to work or hospitals. Multiple car crashes have further paralyzed the city's roads. The snow has also caused frequent power cuts in the city where nine out of ten residents rely on electricity to heat their homes.

One blogger wrote [ru]:

Душанбе – в снежной осаде. Это красиво, даже в чем-то волшебно, но очень неудобно.
Шла сегодня с работы домой пешком. Около часа. Транспорта нет, да и ездить на том, что есть, опасно.

Dushanbe is besieged by snow. This is beautiful, even somewhat magical, but very inconvenient.
I had to walk home from work today. It took me about an hour. There is no [public] transportation, and whatever transportation is available is too dangerous to ride.

Municipal services in Dushanbe are short of special equipment and rely on street cleaners to remove snow from the city's roads.

Municipal services in Dushanbe are short of special equipment and rely on street cleaners to remove snow from the city's roads. Image by ASIA-Plus, February 3, 2014, used with permission.

On Facebook, a prominent Tajik journalist wrote [ru] (in a post that has got more than 120 likes and has been shared by users on various pages):

Думаю в какой же отсталой стране мы живем: 
снежный покров в 14-16 см великая проблема для городских служб; 
спецтехника, включая “Скорую помощь” ограничена в движении, следовательно десятки (если не сотни) людей не получать помощь; 
тысячи людей не добрались на работу, учебу…; 
общественное питание самоограничилась; 
мобильные операторы не обспечивают скорость Интернета; 
и что еще хуже: НИКТО и НИ ЗА ЧТО не отвечает! ((((

I think that we live in a very backward country:
- 14-16 centimeters of snow is a huge problem for municipal services;
- special services, including ambulance service, is limited in terms of the places they can reach; as a result, tens (or even hundreds) of people will not get the assistance they require;
- thousands of people have been unable to get to work or [schools and universities];
- [restaurants] have closed down;
- mobile service operators fail to ensure fast Internet service;
- and, what is worse, NOBODY is responsible FOR ANYTHING! (((

On social media sites, many Tajikistani users share pictures of snow-hit Dushanbe and wonder whether this winter is going to be as bad as the winter of 2008.

See more images and videos from snowy Dushanbe here and here

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