A large contingent of emergency services units is fighting a strong winter blizzard that swept the territory of the Sakhalin region. The blizzard has been persistently hitting the islands for three days now.
According to information obtained on Monday by RIA Novosti from the Main Department of Civil Defense and Emergency Situations in the Sakhalin Region, during first two days of the blizzard many districts in Sakhalin region received a month-and-a-half amount of precipitation. A total of 11 avalanches were registered in the mountains in Nevelski district alone.
The Yuzho-Sakhalinsk airport has been closed for three days. Passenger planes are forced to land in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. Sea ferries that normally travel between Sakhalin and the continent are stranded in the seaport of Vanino waiting for the weather to improve.
The energy supply to 15 villages is cut off, eight of them are completely without electricity. Three villages have lost communication with the outside world.
The blizzard completely interrupted road traffic on the island of Sakhalin. The Sakhalin railroad still operates with long delays. The rails are constantly cleared of snow by special snowplough vehicles that have to precede passenger and transport trains.
The emergency situation remains in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, which received the largest amount of snowfall.
The town's streets are covered with huge banks of snow; therefore, public transportation service is completely out of operation. The snow-clearing operations are hindered by hundreds of cars stranded under snow banks all over the town.
Medical emergency units are working under a lot of strain. They use Buran snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to reach patients with severe illnesses. Other patients receive medical assistance over the phone.
According to weather forecast, the blizzard should pass the Sakhalin and the Kuril islands in the next 24 hours.