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Evacuees return to worst-hit village in flood aftermath in Kazakhstan

28 april 2015, 23:26
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©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov
©Turar Kazangapov

Commission to assess damage from the floods has started its work in Karaganda Oblast, Tengrinews reports.
Since the beginning of floods in the Oblast, 48 settlements and two winterings in nine Districts were affected. Among them is the village named after Gabiden Mustafin.

Formerly known as Tokarevka, the village is located in Bukhar-Zhyrau District and houses more than four thousand people.

The village suffered from the flooding the worst, according to the Committee of Emergency Situations. The waters were raging there on 12 and 13 April.

A local villager, Tatyana Syrkina shared: "I’ve lived here for 40 years and there has never been such a thing. In the spring, the area near the river gets waterlogged. But not that much! On the day when it happened, my husband came home from work and said: "Why are you just sitting here?" He took me to a three-story house, to our niece. In about an hour, the basement of the three-story house began to fill with water. So we were taken to Aktau city. The documents were all ready to go. I took them and we left the house with nothing but our clothes on. This water has brought woe to so many people!"

On 21 April, 22 lodgers of the local nursing home returned. None of them was hurt. The building in which they live was not damaged.

About 700 students arrived from Karaganda city the same day. With their help, tons of garbage was collected from the streets. The volunteers promised to come here again.

On April 22, other evacuees started gradually returning to the village. Headquarters to assist the victims was opened in the local akimat (municipal authorities headquarters). Many people will need to restore personal documents.

A special commission began assessing the state of the houses. According to the press service of the akimat of Karaganda Oblast, as of April 21, about 300 appeals to assess the victims’ properties were filed.

"A record is being kept. After that, all the data will be stored in a single database. We will work with every victim. Appraisers were hired. They will go to every house, analyze, conduct their own assessment and issue conclusions. Their findings will serve as basis for house renovations or construction of new houses,” said Gulmira Mazhitova, head of the headquarters for assisting flood victims.

She said that everything should be finished before winter comes at the latest.

According to official data, as of April 20, 265 of the flooded houses were inspected and 67 of them were found to be in emergency state. 143 houses remained flooded.

Senior citizen Fyodor Diachok’s house was flooded so much that the structure sagged to a side. The villager said that the local akim, who inspected the area, reassured that Diachok would be provided a new housing. Last year, Diachok and his wife made repairs to their house, upgraded appliances and furniture. They now have to stay with their relatives or neighbors.

On the day when the water came to the village, Nadezhda Danilets and her paralyzed mother fled to the attic of their house. The next morning, rescuers arrived and transported the women to land in a boat.

"I sat in the attic, on the roof the whole night and watch the water flow in. I saw the refrigerator floating in the house, a dead calf floated by in the water. It was terrible when we were watching this on TV, when it was happening elsewhere. And now it has reached us," Nadezhda Danilets said.

When the water came on April 12, it “raged like a waterfall” and from the cellar the water came up like a fountain,” she remembered.

She still has to make payments for six months to pay off the loan she obtained to purchase household appliances for her now damaged house. All the furniture in the house is soaking wet. After drying the bedding, the owners of the house sleep on them in one of the rooms they have just washed from silt and mud.

The Danilets were amazed that seedlings on their windowsill survived the flood. Nadezhda said that local emergency services had warned of floodwater approaching the village. But no one thought that there would be so much water.

"My little sister lives on the main street. She drove all the cattle into my yard because she thought her house would be flooded. But eventually, everything drowned in my barn: 15 sheep, a cow, three bulls, our own two cows, calves and piglets - all dead. Only six chickens are left,” said Nadezhda Danilets. But at least the local authorities assured that every person who lost cattle will be reimbursed.

And this is one of the largest stores in the village. It sells toys, household cleaning products and food. One the eve of the Easter day, the owners of the shop filled all of its shelves. The next day, big water came into the village. The water rose waist high in the store laying waste to the lower shelves.

For a few days, all the refrigeration equipment stuffed with meat and dairy products simply floated in the water. Now the smell from the spoiled food in the room is unbearable. But even those products that were on the top shelves cannot be sold – they began to mold from dampness. All the damaged goods are packed in boxes and taken to the garbage dump.

The store now has no electricity, almost all commercial refrigeration equipment became unusable. The shop owners lament that hundreds of thousands of tenge sailed away with the water.

Works to pump away water from streets and yards in the village continue. Buildings of akimat, police department, hospital, kindergarten and part of the houses have already been reconnected to power. Electricity is supplied all the houses except those in emergency state, where there still water. Classes began in the local school. However, there is still no water supply. Drinking water is delivered to every house.

Rapid Response Service crews will remain in town until the consequences of the flood are eliminated. The operational headquarters is located near the entrance to the village. The is a field kitchen for 200 people. The food is prepared both for the local population and for rescue workers and workers involved in the restoration of the village. More than two hundred people and almost fifty units of special equipment were involved in the rescue operation.

Police is patrolling the streets of the village day and night for the second week. There has been no cases of looting.

Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Dinara Urazova
Photos ©Turar Kazangapov


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