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Kyrgyzstan: Cold Snap Sparks Energy Emergency

Temperatures in Kyrgyzstan have plunged in recent days, leaving many Bishkek homes without gas or electricity. (Photo: David Trilling)

It is becoming a pattern: As temperatures plunge in Kyrgyzstan, the gas gets cut, the electricity system overloads and burns out, and people shiver. Once central Bishkek, the capital, was immune to such suffering. No longer.

Temperatures in Bishkek have been hovering around -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) since December 14 and are forecast to drop further this week. When the cold hit, Kazakhstan cut its supplies of gas to northern Kyrgyzstan, citing cuts from Uzbekistan. The chain reaction, resulting in an immediate shutoff across most of Bishkek, prompted many residents to turn to electricity for heating and cooking, which overloaded the system, causing widespread blackouts.

The government has said little about the crisis, but a representative of Kyrgyzgaz, the state-controlled gas-import monopoly, told Kloop.kg that residents could expect gas supplies to resume within “a week.”

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Bakyt Ibraimov contributed reporting.

Kyrgyzstan: Cold Snap Sparks Energy Emergency

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