Surviving at any cost: families freeze in Turkmenistan due to heating system problems

In the first weeks of winter, the cold weather brought an unpleasant “surprise” to the urban and rural population of Mary region – heating problems in residential houses. Radiators do not heat the flats, and residents of remote villages have to stock up on firewood. This was reported by Radio Azatlyk.

According to them, in the last few days, the air temperature in some districts of the Mary region has dropped to -7 degrees Celsius. At the same time, in the towns of Mary and Bayramali, residents of multi-story buildings do not cope with the work and do not give proper heat. They barely heat up to 15-16 degrees, so people use electric heaters and leave ovens on at night.

In some districts of Lebap Oblast, the temperature outside dropped to -20 degrees Celsius. In the city of Turkmenabad, it was -10 degrees Celsius.

“In the cities, if you touch the heating batteries, you can see that the body temperature is much warmer. The heating system cannot warm even itself, let alone the flats,” Mariyets told Radio Azatlyk.

Apartment buildings in Turkmen cities are usually heated by a central heating system. But residents of Mary and Bayramali have to make their way out of the situation because the heating system can’t cope. Namely, they sleep in one room that is heated by electric appliances, wear warm clothes, and leave ovens on full power. It is especially hard for those families with small children. People put on hats and jackets to run to another room.

Similar problems have plagued villagers. Despite the abundance of energy resources, the supply of natural gas has been practically stopped. Accordingly, while meteorologists predict some warming, people are trying to stock up on firewood for the next cold weather.

The authorities could have avoided the problem if gas pipes and power lines in villages had not been repaired in time. The negligent attitude led to the fact that due to wind and rain, the infrastructure is out of order and there are interruptions in the supply of gas and electricity. At such times, people can be without light or gas for almost a week, which leads to other health-related problems.

Most regions of Turkmenistan are still using infrastructure inherited from the Soviet era and are unwilling to spend money on upgrading it. Supply systems are failing and breaking down due to all kinds of weather conditions. But officials at government meetings continue to claim that everything is fine in the country and heating systems are functioning properly, while the inhabitants of the regions are trying to survive at any cost.