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Isolated and unpaid, Mongolian coal drivers queue at Chinese border

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Tsagaan Khad (Mongolia) (AFP) – Snaking across the barren Mongolian desert, a convoy crawls along the once-busy highway to the Chinese border — its truckers desperate to finally deliver their cargo of coal after months of brutal Covid-19 delays and no pay.

Pre-pandemic, the route was packed with drivers delivering the vital fuel to China — the world’s biggest coal importer — currently grappling with widespread power cuts threatening its economic growth.

But now the line of trucks outside the tiny coal town of Tsagaan Khad has been reduced to a trickle, held up by China and Mongolia’s strict coronavirus measures, leaving the drivers stranded without pay or company.

“Our families are calling us and saying they need wood, fuel, and clothes to wear in winter,” said Davaasuren Tsogtsaikhan, 32,…

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