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Russia’s Novosibirsk Declares State of Emergency Over Growing Heating Outages

A service vehicle seen during repair work on a heating pipe in Novosibirsk. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

Authorities in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Friday declared a state of emergency amid a series of heating pipe bursts that have left residents without central heating in freezing temperatures.

“Unfortunately, in the area of the heating system failure... things are getting worse,” Novosibirsk region Governor Andrei Travnikov wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

Utility workers discovered three pipe leaks in a single Novosibirsk neighborhood over the past 24 hours, Travnikov added.

Despite the unfolding crisis, Novosibirsk’s Mayor’s Office was reported to have banned residents from taking to the streets in protest against the heating outages.

Over the past week, boiling water has spewed into the streets of Novosibirsk several times after underground pipes burst, leaving hundreds of households disconnected from heating and hot water.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, launched a criminal investigation into possible safety violations after the first pipe damage last week.

Utility provider Siberian Generating Company said one of the damaged heating mains was built in 1974.

Governor Travnikov said authorities were recruiting additional technical crews to speed up repair work, but he did not indicate when central heating is expected to be restored.

Meanwhile, temperatures in Novosibirsk have hovered around a frigid minus 20 degrees Celsius to minus 30 C in recent days. 

Unprecedented heating outages have been multiplying in Russian cities since the New Year holidays, with bone-chilling weather across much of the country compounding the severity of what is quickly growing into a major crisis for the authorities. 

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