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Schools Shut, Frostbite Cases Spike As Cold Grips Kazakhstan


People wait at a bus stop on a cold day in Almaty.

Frigid weather and heavy snow gripping Kazakhstan has cut off the capital, closed roads and schools, and sent dozens of people to the hospital with frostbite.

With temperatures plunging as low as -40 degrees Celsius, the Health Ministry said on January 24 that at least 223 people were diagnosed with serious frostbite in recent days, including 73 who were hospitalized.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ruslan Imankulov said on January 24 that access in and out of the windswept capital, Astana, was limited and highways in eight regions were closed due to the weather conditions.

Imankulov said that 338 people, including 15 children, had been rescued in the previous 24 hours after being trapped by snow.

Many schools and some universities in the Central Asian country have been closed due to the weather.

Dozens of homes in the northern city of Petropavl were without water after pipes burst in the cold.

With high winds forecast, Kazakh authorities have issued a warning urging citizens to stay home and avoid travel by car until the weather improves.

Officials also issued instructions on how to survive if caught on the road by a heavy snowfall, chilly weather, or winter blizzards.

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