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Question of Berezovka villagers relocation budges 18 мая 2015, 18:07

Will Berezovka villagers finally be relocated to a safer place?
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Berezovka villagers demand relocation. Photo courtesy of uralskweek.kz Berezovka villagers demand relocation. Photo courtesy of uralskweek.kz

KPO b.v., operator of Karachaganak gas and condensate field, has developed a project to extend the radius of sanitary-protection zone and referred it to the Committee on Consumer Protection of the Ministry of Health, Tengrinews reports citing Uralsk Week.

The information was shared by the press-secretary of the oblast akim Kairat Abuov at a briefing on May 12.

“The project was developed by the subsoil user in connection with modernization of equipment at one of the sites in the southern part of the field. Two villages fall into the sanitary protection zone - Berezovka and Bestau. We recently conducted a survey among the residents of these villages. They were asked to choose among villages Burlin, Araltal and Aksai for resettlement. Resettlement to Aksai is planned for the third quarter of this year, to Burlin and Araltal – for 2016 and 2017. This is because land allocation and construction of houses will take time,” Abuov said.

Therefore, the resettlement of villagers from Berezovka and Bestau will happen if the Kazakh authorities approve the new project to increase the radius of the sanitary protection zone around Karachaganak.

It is purely coincidental, surely, that such “modernization of equipment” is happening just months after mass poisoning of children in Berezovka village, where residents have been demanding relocation for years.

The mass fainting of children occurred on November 28 in Berezovka village in West Kazakhstan Oblast, where Karachagan oil and gas field is located. The villagers unanimously pointed in the direction of Karachaganak.

It was reported that there were several emissions of hydrogen sulphide from the Karachaganak field right before the mass poisoning of children.

Prosecutor of West Kazakhstan Oblast Serik Karamanov said on December 3, 2014: "We found that on the 17th, 18th, 19th and 25th November there were emissions violating the maximum allowable limits. On November 27 at 14.19 there was the first emission, the second at 18.30. According to environmentalists, hydrogen sulphide accumulates in the body, and then it begins to affect the person. According to the employees of KPO (Karachaganak Petroleum Operating), they had a failure of the compressor that re-injects the gas, and the gas intended to be flared was involuntarily released. People talked about it. All of this has been confirmed.”

More than 30 people were hospitalized at the time. The villagers gathered signatures and submitted an open letter to the President of Kazakhstan, asking for a relocation of the village away from the field, fearing for the lives of their children.

In February 2015 there was another smaller incident, when two girls fainted right in the school building. In April, three middle school children fainted in the school premises.

Hopefully, authorities will move from words to deeds before more children faint during classes.

By Dinara Urazova 


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