ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - After riots in Almaty: “Many parts of the city are completely devastated”

Tuesday, 11 January 2022 violence   society   politics  

Almaty (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation in the Almaty area is slowly stabilizing. Now we are starting to take stock of the disaster: some parts of the city have been completely devastated and apparently have been bombed. Now is the time to start again: there will be a lot of work to get everything back on its feet, both materially and humanly, but we have to move forward", Father Guido Trezzani, missionary in Kazakhstan and director of local Caritas, told Fides after the recent unrest in the country.
"In these days the government will draw up an intervention plan for the reconstruction, on the basis of which, if they allow us, we will be ready to intervene as Caritas Kazakhstan", affirmed the missionary.
Caritas Kazakhstan is headquartered in Almaty, the financial capital of the country hardest hit by the riots. The demonstrations in Kazakhstan, which began in the early morning hours of January 5 in protest against high electricity bills, turned into violence and killed and injured, particularly in the former capital Almaty.
In the last few days, a local source told Fides, the complete lack of an internet connection has made everyday life difficult for people: "We are now used to paying for everything with ATMs. None of us were ready for the possibility that electronic payment methods were unavailable for days, so many people had difficulty doing their shopping. In addition, the supermarkets were closed for three days due to the emergency. They have been open again since yesterday: there are no supply shortages, even if there is currently a shortage of bread. Since yesterday, January 10, the internet access has been possible only in certain time slots".
In the entire territory of Kazakhstan there are 4 Catholic dioceses, with a total of 70 parishes. There are 91 priests present in the nation, including 61 diocesan and 30 religious. Catholics represent a small minority: according to official data provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the more than 17 million inhabitants of the country, about 26% are Christians, and 1% of them are Catholics. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 11/1/2022)