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Death Toll Rises From Kazakh Ammo-Warehouse Blasts

The scene in Arys one day after the initial June 24 explosions.
The scene in Arys one day after the initial June 24 explosions.

NUR-SULTAN -- The death toll from the massive explosions caused by fire at a military ammunition warehouse in southern Kazakhstan has risen to three, officials say.

Deputy Defense Minister Timur Dandibaev told reporters in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, on June 26 that Sergeant Abdikul Akhmetov, 32, died at the hospital a day earlier from injuries sustained during the explosions in the town of Arys.

Kazakh officials had announced earlier that the blasts killed a local resident and a military officer.

The explosions started at the Arys ammunition warehouse early on June 24.

Regional Governor Omirzaq Shokeev declared a state of emergency in Turkistan region and ordered the evacuation of the remainder of Arys's 45,000 residents.

Some 35,000 people had already fled the town before the authorities announced the evacuation.

Defense Minister Nurlan Ermekbaev said earlier that the blasts would continue for several days.

Arys, in southern Kazakhstan
Arys, in southern Kazakhstan

The Health Ministry said on June 25 that 89 people were being treated in hospitals, nine of whom were in very serious condition.

President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev arrived in the area late on June 24 and met with some of the evacuees.

He vowed to punish people responsible for the situation and promised financial, medical, and moral support to all affected by the explosions.

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