Kazakh Vice Prime Minister visits Berezovka village after mass poisoning of children
Arriving on December 12, he informed that the visit to the village in close proximity to the major oil and gas field Karachaganak was made to comply with the instruction he was given by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
"A state commission has been established. As you know, all the relevant bodies are involved. For now I can only say that the results of the investigation will be announced by January 20," Saparbayev said.
Deputy Prime Minister endorsed the decision of the Oblast akim (Mayor) Nurlan Nogayev on the rehabilitation of children from Berezovka in “Akzhayik" sanatorium and immediately ordered that the children stayed there for at least two weeks.
Prosecutor of West Kazakhstan Oblast Serik Karamanov reminded the villagers that a criminal investigation had been initiated into the poisoning of children. In addition, he said that inspectors found that the school was situated in the lowest point of the village, and the gas is known to accumulate in the lowlands. According to him, this is the reason why only school children and some school staff suffered from the emissions.
But the villagers are looking for action. They asked the Akim why there were no relocation plans even though dozens of people, mostly children, had suffered in this latest incident.
On 28 November, 25 children and four adults were hospitalized with similar symptoms: dizziness, convulsions, loss of consciousness. The situation repeated itself on December 4, when 23 people were hospitalized with similar symptoms.
Later, the Oblast Prosecutor said that there were several emissions of hydrogen sulphide exceeding the norm at the Karachaganak field shortly before the mass poisoning. However, this was denied by the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV.
Residents of Berezovka wrote a letter to the President of Kazakhstan asking to be relocated away from the field.
By Dinara Urazova
- West Kazakhstan Oblast
- Central Asia