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Extreme Cold, Blizzards Rake Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan

Temperatures have fallen as low as minus 40 degrees centigrade in parts of Kazakhstan (file photo).

All schools were closed in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, and across the East Kazakhstan region on November 18 due to extreme cold, heavy snowfall, and blizzards.

The temperature fell to minus 40 degrees Celsius in Oskemen, the capital of the East Kazakhstan region.

In the regions of Almaty and Qaraghandy, authorities had to suspend travel on several highways due to low visibility caused by heavy blizzards.

Authorities say more regions are expected to be hit by the unseasonable weather and heavy snowfalls in the coming days.

In the capital of neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, some 100 trees were felled by a heavy snowfall on November 17, damaging 21 vehicles. One person was injured.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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    RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

    RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service is one of the most trusted sources of news and information in Kyrgyzstan, especially at times of political turmoil. Azattyk's reports are regularly cited and reprinted by local and regional media.