Friday snowfall trapped people on the road, and public transport failed to resist. Buses and trolleybuses, as well as cars, were stuck in traffic jams, and even subway failed the resistance test. Metro station "Vokzalna" (Railway station) could not deal with huge passenger inflow and was closed for entrance for almost an hour during the rush hour.
People were walking home right on the driveway, while cars were driving on sidewalks. Stairs of underpasses were also covered with snow and pedestrians had difficulties to come down without falling or sliding. At the same time, the injury care center of the Kyiv city hospital reported that despite worsening of weather conditions the number of patients requiring medical assistance did not increase. "We believe that even if people got injured falling on the road, they simply could get to the center because of blocked traffic," medical workers of the ambulance service told ForUm.
The situation did not change over the night, and on Saturday morning the roads were car-free. But the most puzzling thing was that snow-cleaning machines also did not show up. Being out for over an hour, ForUm's correspondent did not see any unit or any worker of the communal service cleaning the streets. There were only police officers and militaries with shovels trying to make the difference.
At the same time, press office of the Kyiv City State Administration assured that all available snow-removal vehicles of Kyivavtodor and districts were working in Kyiv, including 15 armored personnel vehicles (BTR), provided by the Defense Ministry to remove trucks from the streets.
Press office of the Kyiv emergency control service reported that for 24 hours the emergency response teams pulled out from snowdrifts 270 trucks, 540 cars, 83 buses and 15 trolleybuses.
Traffic police press office reported that the decision was made to limit the traffic of freight transport in the capital. According to the press office, the restrictions were supposed to secure road safety, and to organize the work of snow-clearing technique in coordination with the local governments, and road agencies.
However, not only city transport had problems. Trains were coming late and flights from Borypil airport were postponed or even cancelled. And if Kyiv residents could go home waiting for the next flight, transit passengers were stuck in the airport.
Well, while all city officials were reporting about taken measures and made progress, regular people were sharing experience in social networks. Thus, a Facebook user Yana Moiseyenko wrote that it took her 12 hours to get home from the office. "I've never seen something like this in real life, only in the movie. Much snow, many cars, hundreds of walking people, blocked traffic and no cleaning units or emergency response teams to control the situation. Ever man for himself."
User Oleksand Hlushchenko wrote that he had to drive around the city all night to find an unblocked street to get home. Like a mouse in the maze. "I took one street, then realized the traffic was jammed and had to come back to seek another way. All night driving back and forth. Having reached the Svytoshyn Bridge we had to push a stuck car and take the oncoming traffic lane to pass through." After eight hours of driving he finally got home.
On Sunday morning Kyiv looked like the perfect stage for shooting ф post-apocalyptic disaster movie - deserted snow plain, abandoned vehicles and no signs of life.
"What is it? Not even one snow-cleaning unit!" a woman cried trying to get to the crosswalk through gigantic snowdrifts.
To get to a store to buy some bread people had to put on skis. However, it did not help much, as store shelves were empty. Somewhere around noon the city woke up. People with shovels came out in the streets to dig out their cars and working places.
Doctors of the central hospital #1 of the Obolon district came personally to clean the entrance from the snow. "Communal services do not care. They have snow to clean every day, but today is Sunday and we came alone. Tomorrow we have the home-visiting day, but we came anyway to clean for patients to be able to come in. We also bought salt in the store to cover the entrance for people not to slide," one of the doctors told ForUm.
Communal workers, however, appeared later. They cleaned the sidewalks in the park and the road to the metro stations. It did not help much as in three hours the passages were covered with snow again.
Svyatoshyno district suffered the most. People could not get in the center because of poor traffic, and those buses who dared to challenge the weather were going only 20 km per hour, as the road had not been cleaned.
"I've been waiting for a bus for half an hour (usual interval is 3-5 minutes - ed.), but it does not seem like it is coming. I have no idea how to get to the place," A Kyiv resident Svetlana says.
Having arrived on "Svyatoshyn" metro station, we saw tens of buses and cars abandoned in the street.
Sellers of the near-by market had to clean their working places themselves and carry out snow with carts.
Some sellers did not show up at all because of paralyzed transport. Seller of the coffee shop Iryna came to work on foot and it took her two hours. Seller of a flower shop Serhiy lives in Irpen (Kyiv region) and had to catch a ride to get to work. "Buses from Irpen to Kyiv do not run since morning. They promises to launch transport in the evening, but I have a strong feeling I would have to catch another ride again."
Workers of the near-by supermarket also had to come on foot. "The major part of the staff woke up two hours earlier to get to work on time," a worker of the supermarket Olga said.
Underpasses were also in bad shape - stairs were covered with snow and nobody cleaned them, so pedestrians had to go sideways or holding on each other.
Many residents recalled Soviet times, when stores did not have bread and milk on the shelves. Deliveries to supermarkets were resumed only in the afternoon.
The Shevchenko Park was not welcoming for visitors, but at the same time, the work was humming on the Taras Shevchenko Boulevard - both communal workers and snow-cleaning units were fighting consequences of bad weather.
However, not all citizens of the capital complained about snow and cold winter. Some people enjoyed snowboarding, skiing and sledding.
Though the snow problem was somehow solved in the center of the city, another serous problem remained - gigantic icicles.
Communal workers were removing them with the help of ropes and special devices, but icicles kept growing again very fast. "We have fenced and blocked off dangerous places, but people ignore the signs and walk right under icicles. It will serve them right if some of icicles fall on their heads."
Despite efforts of communal services, heavy snowfall nullified all the cleaning in the afternoon. Fresh cleaned Kreshchyatyk Street was again covered with snow in several hours, and the process started all over again.
Yulia Artmoshchenko, Tetyana Hrynoriyeva, Tetyana Matsur, Andriy Boyarunets, Anastasia Pika
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