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Thousands evacuated from flood areas in Kazakhstan

15 april 2015, 18:17
0
Flooding in Karaganda Oblast ©Rushan Barayev
Flooding in Karaganda Oblast ©Rushan Barayev

Floods in Karaganda Oblast continue to wreak havoc as Kazakh authorities are forced to evacuate dozens of settlements, Tengrinews reports citing the Oblast's Department of Emergency Situations. 1,760 houses have been flooded in 35 villages. 340 livestock have drowned.

A sharp rise in temperature to 20 degrees Centigrade between March  23 to 29 intensified the melting of snow and caused flooding of villages in Semey and Ayagoz districts in East Kazakhstan Oblast and of four districts in Karaganda Oblast.

The second wave of floods began on April 6 as a result of another sharp rise in temperatures, again to 20 degrees Centigrade, creating a threat of flooding of settlements in Karaganda and Akmola Oblasts in central Kazakhstan. Moreover, the threat now extends to Astana suburbs located near the riverbed of Nura.

©Aisulu Bushtayeva

On April 11, Jumabek dam near the village of the same name was partially washed away by the meltwater and the water started flooding the homes of local residents, the Emergency Situations Department of Karaganda Oblast informed.

All in all, 17 homes were flooded in the area, 42 people evacuated and hundreds of livestock driven away.

©Aisulu Bushtayeva

“To carry out rescue operations and mitigate the consequences, fire service and rescue teams of the Department of Emergency Situations of Almaty and Karaganda Oblasts were dispatched," said the press service of the Department of Emergency Situations.

In addition to the Almaty rescuers, 138 soldiers of the military unit number 52859 of the Ministry of Defense and military unit number 5451 of the National Guard helped in the operation.

©Aisulu Bushtayeva

The Department of Emergency Situations added that meltwater scoured some of the roads in the area, especially in lowlands in Zhanaarkinskyi and Abai districts.

©Aisulu Bushtayeva

The village of Aksu in Shet district saw all of its 150 residents evacuated after the Sherubai-Nur river spilled out of its banks.

All the villagers of Zhastlek in Bukharzhyrau district were evacuated, too - 24 houses were flooded.

In the village of Saken Seifulin everybody was evacuated together with their livestock.

100 people were evacuated in Abay district. They were temporarily settled in a school building. Rescuers are erecting sand dams to save villages and towns from getting flooded.

It is also reported that the threat of flooding is hanging over Sarytobe village. All 350 villagers were taken on a train to a school building in the nearby Kokpekty village.

©Aisulu Bushtayeva

In the village  of Yntaly of Karkarala District, 148 homes and 150 barns remain flooded. 718 people were evacuated.

Rescuers from Almaty and an operational-rescue team from South Kazakhstan Oblast arrived to help the regional services battle the disaster.

Strengthening and building of dikes is underway in all the settlements. Observation posts have been put in place to monitor the situation. Water is being pumped away from the houses. Protective dams are being constructed.

Photo courtesy of Pavlodar Oblast Department of Emergency Situations ©Valery Bugayev

"The flood control works involve more than 1,500 people, including representatives of local authorities, the Department of Emergency Situations, Department of Internal Affairs and military units. Around 300 vehicles are being employed in the operation," the internal policy department of Karaganda Oblast informed.

A regional operational headquarters was set up by the Oblast akim Nurmukhambet Abdibekov. Similar centers are working in every village affected by the floods.

"4070 people have been evacuated by the local authorities, the Department of Emergency Situations, the Department of Internal Affairs and military units to school buildings and hotels. Many citizens are staying with their relatives or have moved to other localities. 2,578 head of cattle, 1280 heads of small cattle and 153 horses have been driven away," the Domestic Policy Department reported.

©Tengrinews

All the households that have suffered from the floods have been registered. The authorities promised to provide financial assistance.

The floods in Karaganda Oblast destroyed several power transmission towers and cut off six townships in Nura District from power, the press service of the Oblast Akimat (local authorities) said. In addition, melt waters damaged 18 sections of roadways.

"Several bridges over the Kulanotpes river were destroyed by floating ice and rough water flow. Transport links to eight villages were cut off - Kenzharyk, Sonaly, Kulanotpes, Barshino, Zhanbobek, Tkenekty, Taldysay, Tassuat. Due to the collapse of several transmission towers, power was cut off in six villages - Zhukey, Sonaly, Kulanotpes, Nygman, Aktubek, Amantau," the press service said on April 14.

Flood waters entered the villages from Samarkand, Sherubai-Nura and Intumak water reservoirs.

"A rescue team with a boat was sent to the villages Sonaly and Kenzharyk to deliver five-day food supplies, fuel and a mobile diesel power plant to the residents of these villages," the press service said.

There were no reports of anyone getting injured or going missing in the floods.

Volunteers in Karaganda Oblast started collecting clothes and food for the victims of the floods. A group was organized in VKontakte to assist the victims by collecting clothing, blankets, bedding, basic products and shipping those to the evacuees.

Photo courtesy of Pavlodar Oblast Department of Emergency Situations ©Valery Bugayev

In Astana and Almaty as well, campaigns were launched to help the victims of the flooding in Karaganda Oblast.

Prominent Kazakhstani political figures and opinion leaders, including Bakhit Syzdykova, Yerlan Karin, Bayan Yesentayeva and others, have voiced their support and helped organise an initiative group in Astana to collect things for the victims of the floods. One of the initiators of this campaign was a well known TV presenter Dinara Satzhan.

"I learned about this from Instagram, the information is spreading. I brought children's clothes, toys, women's and men's clothing. Almost all of it is warm clothes because the weather is still cool. I feel for the victims with all my heart. Wish them all good health and that this does not happen again. I am from the south, from Almaty," said Indira, who, like many others learn about the campaign from the Internet.

The collection began at 10 am in Saryarka mall today. People brought clothes, children's clothes, diapers, food, toys, personal care items, detergents, blankets. The first car will be sent to the ones most in need. The collection of things will continue until Friday.

Satzhan later wrote that the boutique, which collected the things became full very fast, so the Mall allocated a warehouse for the purposes. Entrance is from the sixth back door from the street of Saraishyk. A special identification plate was put in place.

Social activist, ex-deputy of the Mazhilis Bakhyt Syzdykova also shared the posts of another initiative group @astana-dobro. They are also collecting at Sarayshik street 5/1, apartment 35, second entrance. Their contact numbers are 87078883689 and 87019938053.

Dina Sabirova organized a similar campaign in Almaty. The collection will continue from 15 to 19 April, from 2pm until 8 pm in the lobby of Arman cinema theater located at Dostyk Avenue 104 (corner of Abai avenue). Preserved, dried and freeze-dried foods, crackers, biscuits, crackers, salt, sugar, various cereals, baby food, disposable tableware, dry fuel, clothing, shoes and blankets, as well as boxes and tape to pack the collected items can be donated there.

Humanitarian aid will be sent by trucks to the affected areas in Karaganda Oblast. Organizers of the campaign in Almaty, according to Sabirova, are in direct contact with the people in the disaster area.

Other collection centers might also open in other cities under hashtags like #sborpomoschialmaty and #sborpomoschiaktobe. Such action groups can also be found under hashtags #sos_karaganda and #helpkaraganda.

Meanwhile, the flood menace continues to hang over more villages in Abay district. All the villagers of Dolinka, Koksu, Yubileinoe, Put Ilyicha, Zelenye Kliuchi and a number of other settlements in the area were taken to hotels, hostels or to stay with their relatives. Their number is around two thousand people.

©Tengrinews

Meltwaters also affected Pavlodar Oblast. According to the head of Department of Emergency Situations of Pavlodar Oblast Alibek Dlimov, an emergency was declared in the Oblast because of the flooding. The situation is stable but the threat of flooding remains. In particular, on April 10 due to a large influx of water the village of Tendyk was flooded. Insecurity remains in Aktogay district, where authorities are taking preventive measures.

Photo courtesy of Pavlodar Oblast Department of Emergency Situations ©Valery Bugayev

"A large inflow of water is expected today, we are taking measures to divert the meltwater. 100 people have been evacuated. In Bayanaulsky District, the threat of flooding has subsided, the evacuated people have returned to their homes. 200 people are involved in the rescue operation in the Oblast," he said on April 13.

Dlimov also spoke about the situation in Maykayin village. According to him, there had been a threat of flooding of four residential houses, but it was eliminated.

But the local residents have a different view.

"We are the citizens of new homes built under the state program "Affordable Housing 2020". Our homes were flooded, and it's not the first time. The housing was built in the marsh areas, the authorities did not want to help us,"  one of the local residents Aidan Bakibayeva complained.

She said that many residents had small children but it was impossible to return back into the houses, everything was soaked wet. For now they were forced to live temporarily with their relatives.

Photo courtesy of Pavlodar Oblast Department of Emergency Situations ©Valery Bugayev

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan Vladimir Bozhko dispelled the rumors that the floods in Kazakhstan came as a surprise this year. At a press conference in Astana on April 15, he said that the forecast of Kazhydromet made in February suggested that the amount of autumn moisture and winter snow exceeded the normal amount by 30-40 percent in Akmola, Karaganda, North Kazakhstan and Kostanai Oblasts. It was expected that the amount of water in the rivers of Ishim, Silety, Shagalaly, Nura and Sherubai-Nur would be above average, he said.

Therefore, starting from March 3 emergency response units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs numbering 8561 people and 1255 pieces of equipment, nine helicopters and 211 boats were put on high alert. In February and March 2015, 10 thousand tons of fuel were prepared for prevention and elimination of the consequences of floods. In addition, 188,000 tons of inert materials, 84 thousand million bags and 89 tons of explosives were readied.

According to the Deputy Minister, meltwater washed away or flooded 17.3 kilometers of roads in 89 sections. Five bridges were destroyed.

Bozhko explained that to prevent loss of lives 11,172 people were evacuated from danger zones in advance. In addition, during the period of high waters, 25 people were rescued from rooftops. Also more than 36 thousand heads of livestock were driven away from the endangered settlements to the high ground.

Photo courtesy of Pavlodar Oblast Department of Emergency Situations ©Valery Bugayev

He added that a lot of equipment and vehicles was concentrated in the settlements located on river beds. Dams were being constructed there and round the clock monitoring of the water level was in place.

The danger of flooding still remains high.

Today, it became known that floods in Karaganda Oblast reached Temirtau, a town near Karaganda city. Meltwaters from Nura river flooded 54 houses in the town on Nizhniaya and Yuzhnaya streets. 22 people were evacuated, the other residents of the affected houses refused to be evacuated.

The Akim’s (Mayor's) office said that the water from the Nura river began spilling onto the road surface during the day on April 14. The emergency services arriving on the site the same day and began landfilling the roadside to create a barrier for the water flowing from the river. Once the artificial dam was erected, it allowed to contain a significant amount of water.

The local authorities assured that all those who suffered form the flooding would receive compensations from a reserve fund of the regional budget. The property in houses flooded houses is being guarded by the police.

By Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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