Kyrgyzstan’s Military Blasts Mountains With Anti-Aircraft Guns for Avalanche Safety

The country’s hydro-meteorological center recently announced a storm warning, with worsening weather conditions in the mountains and the risk of avalanches. To ensure the safety of citizens, the military, together with rescuers and public utilities, are working to clear snow. Unstable weather is expected for almost all of February, according to forecasts. That means avalanches are to be expected. Kyrgyzstan’s main cities, Bishkek and Osh are connected by a single 620-kilometer highway that passes through picturesque but dangerous mountain passes. It’s here in the Too Ashuu and Ala Bel passes that many accidents occur.

Multiple avalanches have occurred in the past few days, and temporary restrictions on the passage of heavy trucks have been put in place on some sections of the road, whilst other sections are completely closed until the threat is eliminated, according to the Ministry of Transport. Therefore, the military have been deployed.

“Today the task force of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic and artillery of the Ministry of Defense of the Kyrgyz Republic fired on the 247th, 255th and 250th kilometers of the Bishkek-Osh highway. As a result, 23,230 cubic meters of snow were dislodged,” the Kyrgyz Emergencies Ministry said.

According to rescuers, the shelling was delivered by a Soviet-made KC-19 anti-aircraft gun with live fragmentation projectiles. The gun’s range is up to 15 kilometers.