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Hurricane in Southern Kazakhstan: one dead, several injured 14 мая 2014, 01:59

A state of emergency was declared in the city of Shymkent on the eve of May 12. The hurricane damaged roofs, power lines, street lights, traffic lights all across the city.
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Consequences of the hurricane in Shymkent ©tengrinews.kz Consequences of the hurricane in Shymkent ©tengrinews.kz

45 educational institutions in Shymkent have lost their roofs in the midst of a hurricane that hit the region, Tengrinews reports citing the deputy chief of the Disaster Management Department of Shymkent Yerkin Sarybayev.

Strong gusts caused 53 accidents in the gas supply system and 107 accidents in the power system in the southern city. They rooted out  more than 100 trees. 20 multistory apartment buildings, 4 private houses, and 13 administrative and commercial buildings had their roofs damaged. Power lines hanging loose, bent street lights and traffic lights, damaged billboards and signboards give the city a shaken look of a place that has just taken heavy fire. 8 districts of the city are experiencing problems with electricity. And the calls from concerned residents reporting damages and requesting help still keep coming.

A state of emergency was declared in the city of Shymkent on the eve of May 12th due to the hurricane. Schools and kindergartens in the city were closed for two days. All the public events were canceled or rescheduled. Some public areas will remain closed at the discretion of the local administration.

On May 13, the strong wind knocked down a metal water tank from its support bearing. The water tank then crashed with all its weight onto a car parked nearby. Fortunately, the Zhiguli car was empty.

A seller of a convenience store in Sairam district was much less fortunate. The 45-year-old woman was walking out of her store when the hurricane ripped off a nearby roof and cast it down on her head. The woman is now in hospital in critical condition with numerous bone fractures and injuries.

There are four other victims of the wind in the hospital. Some of them sustained injuries from pieces of falling roofs, others were grazed by falling trees.

A 52-year-old woman was killed during the storm on May 12.

In the current situation of emergency, the rescue services are put on alert and operate in an intensive mode, the official representative of the rescue team of the Disaster and Emergency Services of Southern Kazakhstan Pavel Vishenin said. In the span of three days, the operational units have gone out on calls about 40 times.

The Oblast Administration declared that elimination of all the consequences would be possible only after "a week, after the winds subside." 54 vehicles, 310 people, and 176 servicemen are working in the city dispite the winds, providing releave to the residents and solving emergencies. The damages will be calculated later by a special commission. Each call is recorded by the rescuers and sumplemented by photographic evidence in order to confirm damages and properly calculate them.

Marina Schmidt, Head of Short-Term Forecasts at Kazhydromet, Kazakhstan weather service, reported that the winds were expected to persist and even strengthen in the coming 2-3 days. "The forecast for the 13th, 14th, and 15th of May in Shymkent is continuation of strong winds of up to 25 meters per second. And also in South Kazakhstan Oblast as a whole, the winds of 15-20 meters per second will continue with  gusts of up to 28 meters per second," Schmidt said.

According to Schmidt, the windstorm that damaged the roofs lasted for 4 hours 15 minutes.

Strong winds are quite frequent in Southern Kazakhstan. "They usually occur during anticyclones, when an area of high pressure mounts over central Kazakhstan and a cyclone, and area of low pressure is moving in from Uzbekistan. The difference in the pressure creates a gradient zone where such strong winds emerge," Shmidt explained.

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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