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Surviving Underground Amid Poverty, Drugs and Fear

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A removed manhole cover reveals one of the thousands of entrances to the vast corridors of Bishkek's underground.

For an increasing number in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, the ongoing economic crisis means homelessness. Some seek refuge underground in the dark and dangerous corridors of the city’s central hot water and power system. In the winter, these hot and damp halls provide shelter from Kyrgyzstan’s extreme climate.

Many of those living underground are former convicts, lifelong substance abusers, and tuberculars. Under current regulations, all are forbidden from staying at one of Bishkek's crowded state-run homeless shelters.

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Dalton Bennett is a freelance journalist based in Bishkek.

Surviving Underground Amid Poverty, Drugs and Fear

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