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Emergency help from… 700 km away

March 1, 2010
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… or yet another argument that in Central Asian countries, especially Kyrgyzstan, it is much comfortable and better to live in the capital city rather than in non-capital cities, be them small or big.

Maybe in Europe or in US it does not really matter where you live – in a capital city or a non-capital city, cuz almost everywhere there, you can enjoy at least basic services and products to survive.  But in Kyrgyzstan, it is definitely better to live in capital city Bishkek. Not because Bishkek has high new (post-Soviet) buildings, fancy restaurants with cuisines from around the world, newly asphalted roads, modern night clubs, or popular universities… no, not even because your close relative works in the government and can also help you in getting employed by the government…

It is for a simple fact that all Kyrgyz mobile operators’ emergency call service is connected to emergency rooms of hospitals in Bishkek!

A friend from Aravan, my hometown, recently told a story with a fatal end that happened in Aravan, when an old man, who was returning from animal market, had a heart attack on the street and died in a while, because of late emergency help. The reason for late emergency help was a mobile operator, whose emergency call service, which is ‘103’ in Kyrgyzstan, was connected to emergency rooms in Bishkek hospitals.

The story tells that when people in Aravan called emergency via their mobile phones and told the address (most probably just a name of the street or intersection of streets), the emergency room accepted the call and told back that their ambulance car would arrive soon. After some time, seeing that emergency help is late, people called emergency room again and asked if their help was coming. Emergency room answered that they made a false alarm, that the ambulance car had been at the given address, and no one needed help there (many street names are the same in most cities of Kyrgyzstan). After arguing for a while, people, who called emergency help, came to realise that they were speaking with capital city Bishkek that is in 700 km away to the North, behind several mountain passes. A person, who had a heart attack, died on the street, as no one could help him on time. Be it in Bishkek or was the mobile operators emergency service connected to local emergency rooms, he might have been rescued…

Click to enlarge

So whenever you come to Kyrgyzstan and visit non-capital cities, make sure that you have landline phone numbers of local hospitals, just in case you need emergency help. Otherwise you have to call Bishkek and get mocked by the emergency room.

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