It takes something unusual on the weather front to perturb the denizens of Kazakhstan’s capital, and the snowstorms that have battered the city this week fit that bill.
On January 11, Mayor Aset Isekeshev declared a state of emergency over the strong winds which have damaged buildings and cars, have cut off power to some neighborhoods and are posing a very real threat to people’s lives. Residents have been warned not to leave home unless strictly necessary.
Government offices, shops and markets have accordingly closed their doors. Children may be rejoicing, however, as classes are off. The only people going to work are the emergency services — police, ambulance workers and so on.
Highways in several regions of Kazakhstan have been closed because of the weather. Operations at the airport in Astana are also suspended.
Emergency service officials say they have deployed all their resources into countering the crisis. More than 1,500 rescue workers and communal service employees are working to deal with the fallout.
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