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Rare blizzard traps thousands of vehicles on a major highway in southern Turkey


Some 2 800 people were stranded on a major highway connecting Turkey's southern provinces after rare heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions hit the province of Gaziantep late Tuesday and Wednesday, January 19, 2022. Heavy snow and blizzard conditions also affected other parts of the country, closing schools in 52 of Turkey's 82 provinces and isolating remote towns and villages. Some remote areas in the northeast are reporting up to 2 m (6.5 feet) of snow.

According to the Gaziantep Governor Davut Gül, the stranded people were motorists and passengers on Tarsus-Adana-Gaziantep Motorway (TAG), which was closed to traffic on Tuesday night.

Around 186 people in need of medical care were evacuated to hospitals, Gül said, adding that rescue teams also distributed food to some 7 000 people on the highway where the vehicles could not move due to low visibility and thick snow.1

While rescue teams helped 1 780 vehicles stuck on the road, at least 2 800 people were still stranded on Wednesday afternoon.

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Government officials dispatched military helicopters to deliver food aid and perform medical evacuations. The army also sent two tow trucks to remove trapped trucks from the highway.

The main cause of the event was several long-haul trucks that were involved in accidents, bringing the traffic to a standstill, the Daily Sabah reported.

Another snow-related disruption was reported on a road connecting Gaziantep to the province of Kilis where some 30 vehicles were stranded on the road, while a car and a truck plunged into a shallow cliff after they skidded off the road.

No casualties were reported.

The city of Gaziantep (population 2 million) recorded 50 cm (19.7 inches) of snow overnight Wednesday and temperatures around -3 °C (- 26.6 °F). Such weather conditions are rare for the region.

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1 Thousands rescued, more remain stranded on snow-hit Turkish highway – Daily Sabah

Featured image credit: NEWS WORLD


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