BERYOZOVKA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Uzaqbai Qarabalin says residents of a village in western Kazakhstan who have experienced fainting spells will not be relocated.
Qarabalin visited the village on January 20 and told the residents that the village of Beryozovka cannot be relocated as it was not located close enough to a nearby large Qarashyghanaq oil field to qualify for the status of a zone of ecological disaster.
Some 90 people of Beryozovka's 1,300 residents have fainted for unexplained reasons since November 28.
Residents and local environmentalists say the fainting spells are caused by toxic gas from the oil field. They have urged authorities to relocate them.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbaev said air samples from Beryozovka and the village of Kalachi near an abandoned uranium mine in Kazakhstan's north, where residents have suffered somnolence, loss of memory, and hallucinations since March 2013, will be tested and sent to foreign medical institutions for analyses.
The government has pledged to relocate Kalachi residents by May.