Astana cut off by storm, roads closed

 Astana cut off by storm, roads closed

Heavy winter storms across Kazakhstan have cut transportation links to and from the capital, Astana, and left other regions of the Central Asian country isolated.

Astana's Mayor Aset Isekeshev today declared a state of emergency after strong winds and snow drifts forced the closure of Nursultan Nazarbaev International Airport in Astana.

The snowstorms that began overnight also forced the closure of all highways and roads linking the capital to other parts of the country, RFE/RL reported.

Interior Minister Qalmukhanbet Qasymov said all roads in the regions of Aqmola, Qaraghandy, Pavlodar, and Qyzyl-Orda were closed today.

In Almaty, authorities urged residents to use public transportation instead of driving vehicles on the roads because of limited visibility in the ongoing blizzard.