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Tens of thousands evacuated after Uzbekistan dam bursts

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Uzbek authorities on Sunday launched a criminal probe after a major dam burst, prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from flooded homes there and in Kazakhstan.

The wall of the Sardoba reservoir dam in eastern Uzbekistan burst early on Friday and at least 70,000 people have been evacuated.

More than 50 people were hospitalised.

Over 600 homes in southern Kazakhstan have also been flooded.

Uzbekistan’s state prosecutor said on Sunday that a criminal case had been opened into “official negligence” and construction violations.

Construction of the Sardoba dam began in 2010 under the supervision of current President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who was prime minister at the time.

It was completed in 2017.

Mirziyoyev on Friday flew to the region, which saw strong winds and rains prior to the collapse of the dam, in order to oversee the evacuation and cleanup operation.

Officials in Kazakhstan’s southern Turkestan region, where more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, criticised Uzbekistan for not providing timely information on the status of flood control Saturday.

“We have a copy of our correspondence with the Uzbek side, that as of (8 pm on Friday) the situation was stable and there were no problems,” said Saken Kalkamanov, deputy governor of the Turkestan region.

“They said that not a drop of water would reach Maktaraal district,” he said, referring to the area where the flood hit.

“Nevertheless, what happened has happened.”

The administration of the Turkestan region estimated that the floods caused crop damage worth more than $400,000 — mostly to the cotton, which is grown throughout the Central Asian region.


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