by Staff Writers
Minsk (AFP) March 16, 2013
Heavy snow brought much of Belarus to a halt on Saturday, leaving travellers stranded for hours on highways and forcing the government to call in the army to help clear roads.
Traffic police closed off most major roads in and around the capital Minsk, officials said.
"The emergency ministry is asking all citizens not to use auto transport, and we don't recommend that elderly people go outside unless it's an emergency," the ministry pleaded on its website in giant letters.
Over 20 thousand people were called in to shovel and plough the snow out of the way, and some stranded people were placed by rescue workers into temporary shelters, it said. Adverse conditions also caused accidents involving up to 20 cars.
Those snowed in on the road complained on Twitter of spending up to 18 hours to drive 300 kilometres, and posting images of people huddling around bonfires in the early hours of Saturday.
The emergency ministry said 1,688 towns and villages had suffered from power outages.
Minsk airport was forced to close Friday, rerouting arriving planes to other airports in Belarus and even Ukraine and Lithuania. It reopened Saturday afternoon.
It's A White Out at TerraDaily.com
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