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Astana is safe from floods: Kazakh Deputy Minister 16 апреля 2015, 14:21

As floods continue to spread throughout Central and Eastern Kazakhstan, Deputy Minister of Kazakhstan assures that the capital of the country - Astana - is out of harm's way.
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©Turar Kazangapov ©Turar Kazangapov

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan Vladimir Bozhko has promised to keep Astana safe from the floods rampaging through four out of fourteen Oblasts of Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports. This will be accomplished thanks to the dam built in 2009 near Astana.

“The Astana water reservoir has seen almost its entire capacity filled with the inflowing flood water in one day. 410 million cubic meters is the reservoir’s estimated capacity. It now contains 397 million cubic meters. 32 million have been discharged into the Ishim River during one day. This water will reach Astana in a day and we will intercept it there, just like last year, with a flood dam built near the airport. Last year we intercepted 130 million cubic meters of water there. Right now the discharge is 32 million cubic meters per day. If such discharge continus for three or four days, we will again catch it and once again save the capital from flooding," Bozhko said at the press conference in Astana on March 14.

The road to the dam. ©Turar Kazangapov

The road ends in water. ©Turar Kazangapov

The dam seems high enough. ©Turar Kazangapov

The left bank of the Ishim River was washed away by a flood in 1949. Since the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Almaty to Astana in 1997 the area became home to headquarters of ministries and national companies and the city's most fashionable buildings. To enhance protection of the area from spring floods the new dam was constructed in 2009. The dam is 10 meters high and over 30 meters long.

"This is the third time that we are catching a large flood with this dam. The first time there were 40 million cubic meters, the second time - 130 million in 2014. And this year, probably, there will be not less than 100 million," Bozhko said.

View of Astana from the dam. ©Turar Kazangapov

On April 15 the head of the Department of Emergency Situations of Astana Barat Duzakbayev once again assured the residents of the capital that the situation was under control. He urged citizens not to panic.

"Yesterday, rumours were circulating that tap water was no longer fit for drinking because the dam burst (and the melt water flooded the city's water processing facilities). This is not true. There is no reason to worry in Astana,” he said at the briefing.

"Today, there is no threat that the events (flooding) taking place in Karaganda and Akmola Oblasts would repeat themselves here in Astana. The situation is under control. An emergency response headquarters was established in the Akimat (Mayor's office) of the city for representatives of all the services of the city to gather together. All possible locations of flooding have been identified. If the water continues to rise, the Nura river may spill out of its banks and Ilyinka village may be flooded. Right now actions are being taken to prevent damage – dams are being erected on the path of the water to prevent it from flooding the village," Duzakbayev said.

He added that people residing close to the Ishim river were made aware of the situation. Owners of such houses are being handed instructions on how to deal with the situation and be prepared for an emergency evacuation. Places these people may be evacuated to have been identified.

According to the Department of Emergency Situations of Astana, the sharp spring warming has resulted in the rise of water level in the Yesil and Nura rivers.

As of April 15, the amount of water in Astana reservoir was 393.16 million cubic meters. Its critical level equals to 410 million cubic meters. The discharge of water from the reservoir made 49 million cubic meters a day.

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev and Assemgul Kassenova, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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