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Floods, avalanches wreak havoc

[Kazakhstan] A map of Kazakhstan and the surrounding region. [Date picture taken: 02/13/2007]
A map of Kazakhstan and the surrounding region. (ReliefWeb)

Floods have killed 34 people in Aksu District, Almaty Province, southeastern Kazakhstan, according to the government-run Kazinform news agency on 15 March.



Hundreds have been displaced and a further 926 evacuated to the provincial capital of Taldykorgan, it said.



Snowmelt combined with heavy rain formed torrents which washed away dams, causing floods in two villages; about 4,000 people have been affected, the Emergency Ministry said on 12 March.



Several hundred people in Zhylbulak village, Karatal District, have been temporarily accommodated in a school, while those at risk in Kyzyl-Agash village, Aksu District, had been evacuated, the ministry said.



In neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, some 30 people stranded in the southern district of Alai by an avalanche were rescued, according to Akipress news agency. The Kyrgyz Met Office said on 15 March that there was a risk of further avalanches in the Alabel pass area of the Bishkek-Osh road and around the Taldyk pass on the Osh-Khorog highway, southern Kyrgyzstan.



Tajikistan



Meanwhile, in Tajikistan the Met Office is forecasting heavier than usual rain and snow in March. “Precipitation might be up to twice the usual amount,” according to a 10 March newsletter by the Rapid Emergency Assessment & Coordination Team (REACT), a group of government and UN agencies and NGOs.



The Tajik Met Office said snow levels in areas feeding the Pyanj, Vakhsh, Varzob and Zeravshan river basins were above a multi-year average, and warned of avalanches and floods.



Avalanches have killed several people in the past few weeks - three in the southeastern province of Pamir, and one in the northern province of Sughd, according to REACT.



Central Asia is exposed to various natural hazards, including floods, droughts, avalanches, rockslides and earthquakes. Population density in disaster-prone areas, high overall population growth, poverty, land and water use, failure to comply with building codes, and climate change make the region vulnerable to natural as well as man-made disasters, according to the UN Environment Programme.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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