Death toll from southern Kazakhstan floods rises to 35

10:08, March 14, 2010      

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At least 35 people had been killed in floods caused by heavy rains and melting snow in southern Kazakhstan, local press quoted President Nursultan Nazarbayev as saying on Saturday.

A dam at the Kyzyl-Agash reservoir in the eastern Almaty region burst Thursday evening, pouring torrents of water into several nearby villages and affecting about 3,000 people.

A village in Alma-Atinskaya Oblast was almost devastated by the floods, and two people in a nearby village were swept away by floodwaters, the local emergency situations bureau said. More than 2,000 people in Alma-Atinskaya have been evacuated.

Railway tracks and highway bridges in the area were also washed away, causing severe disruptions.

Over 600 rescuers have arrived at Kyzyl-Agash and security has been tightened to prevent looting, authorities said.

Nazarbayev has ordered the settng up of an on-site crisis management committee which will provide all necessary assistance to victims.

Prime Minister Karim Masimov traveled to the disaster area Friday evening to oversee rescue work.

Southern Kazakhstan was affected by unusually heavy snowfalls this winter. Rising temperatures are now causing massive flooding and mudslides across the region.

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