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Thousands Evacuated As Floods Hit Eastern Kazakhstan

A Kazakh officer sits in front of a house destroyed in recent flooding.
OSKEMEN, Kazakhstan -- Over 2,000 people have been evacuated from several villages in eastern Kazakhstan due to severe flooding caused by melting snow, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The floods have completely destroyed local power and telephone lines and threaten to sweep away bridges. The floods are approaching the villages of Qyzyl Kesik, Qumkol, Kokzhyra, and Qarghyba.

The East Kazakhstan Oblast Department for Emergency Situations announced today that in all, 19 towns and villages with a combined population of almost 20,000 people could be affected.

On March 16, the flood waters destroyed a dam near the village of Qaraul. Two thousand residents were evacuated and at least 60 houses were damaged, but no casualties are reported.