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The city of Turkmenbashi on the edge of humanitarian disaster

The city of Turkmenbashi (formerly, the city of Krasnovodsk), located on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian sea, is experiencing a critical situation with regard to supplying the residential districts with drinking water and electric power. In these hot summer months water is shut down for two, three or even more weeks. Continuous electricity cut-offs and voltage jumps are common.

The residents’ complaints are being ignored by all municipal, velayat and state governmental offices. In response to telephone calls, the President’s reception office says that they are aware of what is going on in Turkmenbashi, but no specific measures are being undertaken to remedy the situation. Addressing the city residents at the meeting, the executive of “Turkmenbashiagyzsuv” headquarters (water treatment plant) Abdy Orazov said that there is no water.

The instructions of the higher-ranking authorities to supply free water to the city residents by delivering it to residential districts in water trucks are not being executed. In the “Turkmenbashiagyzsuv” main office, water trucks are standing idle as no rubber and spare parts are available. Moreover, the drivers of a few water trucks, which are still operating, prefer to sell water for cash.

Apparently, fearing the mass discontent of the city inhabitants, the local authorities have instructed police officers to cordon the gates of the water treatment plant.

A similar critical situation applies to the electrical power supply. SinceTurkmenistangained independence not a single attempt has been undertaken to modernize transformer substations, cable and air power lines. Occasional reports about the installation of brand new transformer stations of various power capacity prove to be lies designed to ease social tension. Fire outbreaks on mainframe transformers, which receive high voltage current from electric power stations, and adapter transformers on distribution stations are occurring more often. In residential buildings fire hazards are on the rise and electrical household appliances burn down.

There are cases when the residents initiated court proceedings to compensate damage, but the applicants immediately start experiencing firsthand the pressure exerted by the law-enforcement agencies and the executives of companies or organizations where they are employed.

The city is virtually left to its own devices. This did not happen even during World War II. Long-term residents recall that even in the toughest conditions, the authorities managed to supply drinking water not only to the city with a population of 30 thousand residents, but to hundreds of thousands of refugees heading via the city to the east.

Many people, especially elderly inhabitants are moved to tears and are on the brink of suicidal attempts by the current developments in the city. They are especially insulted by the window dressing associated with the construction of Avaza, located several kilometers from Turkmenbashi. Unlike Turkmenbashi, Avaza is abundant in electric power and drinking water. From the municipal water tanks drinking water is constantly pumped out to supply water to holiday-makers and water hundreds of thousands of plants.

According to representatives of the public health centres, the city with a population of 50 thousand people may be exposed to the outbreak of infectious diseases. A similar situation is observed in all cities and localities in Turkmenistan’s west. In particular, in Cheleken and Bekdash the situation is much worse than in Turkmenbashi.

Source: TIHR