By Hrach Melkumian
Heavy snowfalls swept across Armenia late on Wednesday, blocking several major highways and leaving scores of vehicles stranded. Dozens of snowplows and bulldozers were rushed to the road sections made impassable by the snow as the authorities coped with the earlier-than-usual advent of winter.
The Armenian government, which discussed the situation at a weekly session, approved 50 million drams ($90,000) in financial support for the emergency measures on Thursday. “The issue was discussed in detail and the government released additional funds so that we can clear all the roads across the country,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Andranik Manukian.
A spokesman for the government department on emergencies told RFE/RL that all the cars and heavy trucks snowed up for several hours were eventually able to move on. But several mountain passes were still reportedly closed for traffic as of Thursday afternoon and the road police warned motorists against taking long-distance journeys. There were no reports of serious road accidents and casualties caused by the bad weather.
The snowfall was preceded by several days of freezing temperatures across Armenia. Weather forecasters predict warmer weather for the coming days.