19 июля 2014 17:13

Mudflow aftermath remedied near Almaty


View from the dam ©Dmitry Khegai View from the dam ©Dmitry Khegai

The temporary check dam at the Talgar river meant to regulate water flow into irrigation channels destroyed by July 17 mudflood is being reconstructed, Tengrinews reports citing deputy akim of Almaty Oblast Tynyshbai Dosymbekov.

The temporary check dam at the Talgar river meant to regulate water flow into irrigation channels destroyed by July 17 mudflood is being reconstructed, Tengrinews reports citing deputy akim of Almaty Oblast Tynyshbai Dosymbekov.

Talgar mudslide damages run into millions

The flow rate of the Talgar River is now down to 20.6 cubic meters of water per second. During the mudflood it peaked at 40 cubic meters per second. While the normal average flow rate of the Talgar River, a small mountain river fed by glaciers, is 10.6 cubic meters per second. 

300 thousand cubic meters of water pulling rumbling stones went downhill during the mudflood. But all of it ended up in the mudflow storage reservoir located down the river. The debris basic is large enough to hold 8 million cubic meters of mudwater.  

Speaking about the mudflow Dosymbekov said: "The main dam was not damaged, it withstood the water flow."

According to the Emergency Services of Almaty Oblast the dam is in working order. The extra amounts of water were pouring over the dam's ridge, but failed to wash it through.

Initially, when commenting on the situation right after the mud flood happened, the Emergency Situations Department of Almaty Oblast confirmed that the damn was washed away. Answering a direct question “Did the dam break?” they gave an affirmative answer. They also gave the exact time of the dam break - 1 p.m. July 17, and the rate of water flow - 40 cubic meters per second. The department explicitly said that there was no threat to human lives as there were residents within the reach of the mudflow.

Deputy Akim Dosymbekov said: "We used a helicopter to get to the place and then walked along the river through all the households. The irrigation water supply is available. There is no threat to lakes, water reservoirs or residents now. Not a single house was flooded or eroded. There were no casualties. There was 5 or 6 facilities belonging to a trout farm along the river, they were washed away by the mudflood. We are now establishing the exact mount of damages and finding out what else was damaged."

According to the Emergency Services, three houses of the forestry, a part of the road leading to Sputnik children's summer camp, two summer terrace cafes located in close proximity to the river and several buildings of another, non-functioning camp were flooded. In addition, a road bridge chute at Almaty-Korgas highway was scoured.

80 children are being evacuated from Sputnik camp. But some of those children came all the way from Western Kazakhstan Oblast and were supposed to spend more time in the camp. So now the administration is facing difficulties arranging early transportation of the children home or providing them with a different site to spend their summer at.

Access to the area is still sealed off and no one is allowed to enter the area scourged by the flood, even local residents. Police cordoned off the access route to the dam. A group of distraught parents gathered at the cordon demanding immediate evacuation of children from the summer camp.

Deputy Akim of Talgar District Darmeniyar Kydyrbekuly shared some details about the incident with Tengrinews. He said that the peak of the mudflow occurred at lunchtime on July 17. He assured that there was no danger to human lives. "Even the first stage reservoir of the dam is not full, so there is no threat of the dam break, there is no reason to worry. The preliminary cause of the mudflow is an excessively melted glacier that caused the water to fill the gorge. Damages have not been calculated yet. There are no dead or injured. We are clearing the road," Kydyrbekuly said.

According to the Emergency Situations Ministry of Kazakhstan, the workgroup made the second flyover of the area at 08.00 a.m. on July 18 to evaluate the situation and coordinate the work on curing the aftereffects of the mudflow and removing the debris.

The work to restore the temporary check dam at the Talgar river and the river bed are underway. The water flow from the Talgar river is being redirected into Kapshagai reservoir. Three excavators, five trucks, a bulldozer and a front loader are involved in the operation. Emergency teams are still on high alert, patrols have been organized along the Talgar river, control teams have been been positioned at bridge crossings. In total the emergency crews involve 40 people and 15 vehicles of state-run KazSeleZaschita company, a detachment specialising on protection from mudfloods.

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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