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Tajikistan: Bazaar Blaze Highlights Market Shortcomings

In Tajikistan’s bustling bazaars, traders often must rely on faith alone to get them through hard times.

“In Allah we trust,” said Zafar, standing in the smoldering remains of the Korvon Bazaar, Dushanbe’s biggest wholesale market. The fabric seller had just lost $25,000 in a blaze that engulfed more than 5,000 square meters of the market late on September 5.

“I have four kids,” said Zafar. “We’ve lost everything – all we have.”

A woman sitting on a tire next to Zafar said she lost $50,000.

Three days after the incident, several merchants interviewed by EurasiaNet.org estimated that more than 1,000 vendors were ruined by the blaze, which left one person dead. Many of the affected merchants have substantial debts. Zafar, for example, borrowed $10,000 from a European bank. “And they can’t just forgive the loan, because we’ll come and get more loans and then there will be a fire again,” he said.

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Tajikistan: Bazaar Blaze Highlights Market Shortcomings

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