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Astana, Kazakhstan • 09 February 2024

Landslide Claims Four Lives in Almaty

The deadly incident prompted a further investigation

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Department of Emergency Situations of the city of Almaty
Department of Emergency Situations of the city of Almaty

In a devastating incident in the Medeu district of Almaty, four bodies were discovered at the site of a mudslide.

The Department of Emergency Situations of Almaty confirmed the recovery of the four bodies: a man born in 1984, a woman born in 1980, and two young men born in 2007.

Efforts to clear the rubble and remove the mud mass from the site are underway, which is impeded by a high volume of clayey mud containing sharp objects, glass, and debris. Limited access to the affected area further complicates the operation, necessitating manual labor.

The tragedy struck on February 8 at 2:20AM, when reports emerged of a mudslide in the Tau-Samal microdistrict along Olimpiyskaya Street. The incident damaged two private residential buildings, leading to the establishment of an evacuation point at one of the schools. Some families voluntarily sought refuge with relatives following contact with the emergency center.

What caused the tragedy?

As outlined by Erkebulan Orazalin, the head of the Medeu district in Almaty, there are several potential causes behind the mudslide. According to the Department, preliminary investigations suggest that one contributing factor may be soil waterlogging of technogenic nature. According to “Kazselezashita”, an underground water pipe, constructed by residents of the upper line of houses, could have played a role. Other possible causes include incorrectly installed storm sewer pipes installed by the residents of the houses and also septic tanks discharging liquid into a cliff in a mountainous area.

Responding to the incident, a special commission has been established in the Medeu district, comprising experts from the Department of Emergency Situations, Kazselezashita, and the city administration. The commission's primary objective is to conduct a thorough survey of the slope area to assess its safety and stability.

As of 3:00PM on February 8, the commission completed its survey and determined that there was no imminent danger of repeated mudflow for residents living in the vicinity.

However, over 3,000 cubic meters of mud were released on February 8 alone, with an additional 300-400 cubic meters of loose material at the top of the slope currently undergoing cleaning procedures by specialists to ensure safe descent.

The Medeu district police department has initiated a criminal investigation. The local authorities are working to address safety concerns, the community mourns the loss of lives and remains vigilant in safeguarding against future tragedies in the region.

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