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Four More Children Fall Ill In Afflicted Kazakh Village

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

BERYOZOVKA, Kazakhstan -- Four children have required medical assistance after they fell ill in a Kazakh village where many residents have experienced fainting spells and other symptoms in recent months.

Beryozovka resident Tilek Temirghaliev told RFE/RL that his 11-year-old son and three local girls were taken to a hospital in the district seat, Borili, on March 2 after they lost consciousness, but that doctors refused to hospitalize them.

He said they were sent home after they felt better.

Hospital deputy director Darigha Qabdenova denied that four children had fainted. She told RFE/RL that "the situation in Beryozovka is good now."

Dozens of Beryozovka's 1,300 residents, mainly teenagers, have fainted for unexplained reasons since November 28.

Residents and local environmentalists say the fainting spells are caused by a toxic gas from a nearby oil and gas field. They have urged the authorities to relocate them.

In January, Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Uzaqbai Qarabalin said the residents will not be relocated as Beryozovka is not close enough to the field to qualify as an "ecological disaster zone."