Kyrgyzstan struggling with power shortage

Kyrgyzstan struggling with power shortage

By Aynur Jafarova

Electricity is one of the most important requirements for an open-heart surgery. Logically, a power outage is considered a serious obstacle in this process.

Now a recently-occurred shocking event in Kyrgyzstan's health care system has unveiled the country's desperate struggle with electricity shortage.

Head of a state-run heart clinic in Kyrgyzstan, Kaldarbek Abdramonov, recently uploaded a video on the popular social networking website Facebook depicting his staff doing a delicate work in an unenviable condition.

A power outage in the middle of an open-heart surgery forced Abdramonov's team to improvise, using cell phone flashes for lighting to pump the patient's blood manually.

"These are some circumstances under which we perform operations on hearts that have stopped beating," Abdramonov wrote on his Facebook page.

Power outages in Kyrgyzstan with a 5.5 million population are reportedly frequent. Every time when power outage occurs, Kyrgyz doctors face the dilemma: "How long do we have to wait before proper conditions are created for our work?"

In some instances, things can be delayed for a little while. But in other situations - like in open-heart surgeries -- more drastic measures are required.

Thus, ensuring Kyrgyzstan's energy security is one of the top priorities of the government. In winter, when the average temperature often falls below zero, Kyrgyzstan suffers from lack of electricity.

Recently, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan mulled the issues of electricity supply from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan.

However, importing electricity from neighboring countries is not sufficient. When cold winter comes, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which export electricity and gas to Kyrgyzstan, reduce the energy supply due to drop in air temperature, and increased domestic gas consumption.

So, Kyrgyzstan tries to ensure its own energy independence by improving the domestic power plants and power lines.

In June 2014, President Almazbek Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan, where the electricity consumption increased by one and half times in the last four years, will gain energy independence in one and half year.

"The work on the second unit of Kambarata Hydro Power Plant will be completed by 2016, and it will work at full capacity. Now half of its generated electricity stays in the station because of the power lines. By that time, the reconstruction of Bishkek heat and power plant will also be completed and its capacity will increase by two times", Atambayev said.

He also noted in 2015, the construction of Datka-Kemin power lines will be completed.

"The construction of alternative road connecting the north and south of the country has already begun. We are constructing the Osh-Isfana road. In August, construction of a tunnel in Suzak will begin," the president added.

Kyrgyz experts believe that Kyrgyzstan's energy problem will be resolved by using coal instead of gas in industry, heating and electricity production. The country has about 1.4 billion tons of coal in its deposits.


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