12:19 GMT +3 hours24 November 2014
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30 avalanches block Russia-South Ossetia road

Russia
(updated 18:26 28.10.2014)
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Around 30 avalanches have come down on the Transcaucasian highway, cutting off the only direct road between Russia and South Ossetia, a spokeswoman for North Ossetia's emergencies ministry said on Tuesday.

Around 30 avalanches have come down on the Transcaucasian highway, cutting off the only direct road between Russia and South Ossetia, a spokeswoman for North Ossetia's emergencies ministry said on Tuesday.

"Traffic on the highway has been suspended due to heavy snowfalls changing with thawing weathers," Yulia Starchenko said, adding that such weather guarantee avalanches and the road had already been closed for over a day.

Electricity supplies from Russia to South Ossetia were also cut due to the heavy snowfalls and avalanches, which are believed to have brought down power lines.

"Since one o'clock in the morning, the republic [South Ossetia] has been completely without electricity," Starchenko said, adding that specialists had been sent to area.

She said that all maintenance crews responsible for the highway were working in emergency mode, so the road's operation depends only on weather conditions.

Snow interchanging with rain made the work of emergency and highway crews and rescuers more difficult due to a lack of visibility.

Local weather forecasts predict more snow in the next 48 hours and an increased likelihood of avalanches in the area, but Starchenko said conditions could be improving.

"The snow is already easing and there is hope that the weather will allow to trigger the most dangerous avalanches," the spokeswoman said.

Moscow recognized South Ossetia as independent following a brief war with Georgia in 2008 and the republic relies on Russia for its energy supplies and links with the outside world.

VLADIKAVKAZ, March 16 (RIA Novosti)