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Tajik Officials Relocate People From Dangerous Flood Zone

KULOB, Tajikistan -- Officials in southern Tajikistan have begun demolishing some 250 houses because they are in a dangerous flood zone, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

So far this week, more than 50 homes in the city of Kulob's Charmgaron neighborhood have been demolished.

Floods caused by heavy rains in May 2010 partly or completely destroyed more than 1,000 houses in the area, which is in Khatlon Province.

Fifteen people died in the high waters and mud from the Tebalay River that runs through Charmgaron.

Ozodi Hasanov, a representative of the Kulob city administration, said on October 7 that houses which are situated up to 30 meters from Tebalay River have to be destroyed because they are vulnerable to flooding.

He said nearly every family in the flood plain where homes are being demolished received either a new house or a parcel of land on which to build a new home.

But Barotali Qurbonov, a Charmgaron resident, said he is unhappy with the state program because his new house is of a much lower quality than his old one and he "would be happier to live in the [old house]."

Another Charmgaron resident, Mohsharif Sadulloeva, said her relocation from the area was forced and authorities told her family they must immediately remove their belongings because bulldozers were coming to demolish their home.

Some other residents of Charmgaron told RFE/RL that authorities have plans to build a reservoir which could remove the flood danger in the neighborhood, but most people in Charmgaron have already left their homes to be demolished and moved into new houses provided by the government and some private companies.