Kazakhstan Minister of Emergencies on Kokpekty flood01 april 2014, 18:55
Sharp warming is to blame for the dam burst and flood in Kokpekty village of Karaganda Oblast, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the Minister of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan Vladimir Bozhko.
“It was +18 degrees Centigrade and the snow was melting heavily everywhere. As you can see there was a strong influx of water but the ice did not melt. The water started gushing over the ice," the Minister said after arriving to Kokpekty.
Minister Bozhko added that there had been works conducted to prevent the dam burst. “Since yesterday (workers) have been trying to dig a channel bypassing the dam (to discharge the water). But there are rocky slopes both on the left and right sides. They allowed some water through but not enough. When a large mass of show slid into the lake it created a large wave and the rush of water was so strong that it went over the top of the dam,” Bozhko explained.
The dam is privately owned and the Minister discussed the situation with Shanyrak JSC that is responsible for maintenance of the dam. “They were monitoring the condition of the dam, and I cannot say that the local services have failed to do something or that they did not responded timely. All hatches in the dam were open to discharge the water. And during preparations for the winter made in autumn the water level in the lake was reduced the way it was supposed to. We have interview the local residents, they all said that there had never been any such problems with that reservoir. It had never happened before that a mass of snow so large would plunge into the water in one lump, ” the Minister said.
The villagers have already returned to their houses after the flood. The local administration and emergency services have restored communication and power supply and pumped away most of the water. The pumping and cleaning is still being continued.