Homes in Kyrgyzstan freeze as gas and electricity shortages reach crisis point

The Associated Press
December 18, 2012

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Thousands of households in the capital of Kyrgyzstan have been hit by gas and electricity shortages just as temperatures have dropped to around minus 20 celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit).

Residents of Bishkek and nearby towns, including Kant, which houses a Russian airbase, struggled Tuesday for the fifth straight day to keep homes warm.

The shortages are fraying tempers in the cash-starved Central Asian nation, which also hosts a U.S. airbase and has struggled to maintain stability since the previous president was overthrown in an uprising in 2010.

Energy Minister Avtandil Kalmambetov says neighbouring Kazakhstan is delivering only about 60 per cent of the natural gas it has promised.

Failure in gas deliveries pushes people into using more electricity for heating, which in turn leads to blackouts.