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Central & South Asia
Dam burst destroys Kazakh village
At least 35 killed and many homes ruined after dam unleashes flood in south Kazakhstan.
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2010 06:13 GMT
More than 600 emergency workers have been sent to provide relief to 1,000 displaced people

At least 35 people have been killed after a dam broke in southern Kazakhstan, unleashing a flood that destroyed a village, officials said.

Torrential rains and rising temperatures triggered the reservoir's burst that left hundreds of homes in ruins on Friday in the village of Kyzyl-Agash near Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city.

According to a state news agency, the disaster sparked the evacuation of around 1,000 people to nearby cities.

Hundreds of emergency personnel have reached the region to provide tents for the evacuees along with other much needed aid, authorities said. 

Karim Masimov, Kazakhstan's prime minister, travelled to the region in order to personally supervise the relief efforts.

"We need to have understanding for the situation of the victims ... they have suddenly been left without homes, money and documents,'' Masimov said. 

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's president, has ordered an inquiry and even a criminal probe into the deadly dam bursts.

He told security services to "carry out a thorough investigation and to bring the guilty to justice if the disaster was the result of negligence and the failure to carry out the necessary repair work to maintain the facility".

A state commission looking into the causes of the disaster has until Tuesday to come up with an explanation for what happened, Nazarbayev added.

Al Jazeera's Robin Forestier-Walker, reporting from Almaty, said: "I had a conversation with an environmental group recently and they were raising their concerns about the reservoirs in that part of the world.

"Spring floods happen quite often there and some of these dams are quite old ... they [the environmental group] said that this was an accident waiting to happen."

Source:
Al Jazeera & agencies
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