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Uzbek Dam Bursts, Forcing Evacuation Of Thousands Of Villagers

Uzbek officials say the breach has weakened the structure and they fear it could cause the entire dam to collapse.

A recently built dam in Uzbekistan has burst, sending water rushing toward villages on the floodplain downstream from the Sardoba Reservoir in the eastern region of Sirdaryo.

Authorities say 11,600 villagers were evacuated on May 1 after the dam on the Sirdaryo River developed a breach at about 6 a.m. local time.

Video footage obtained by RFE/RL shows a gap in one section of the 29-meter-high concrete structure and a torrent of water rushing toward the nearby villages.

Uzbek officials told RFE/RL the breach had weakened the structure and they feared it could cause the entire dam to collapse.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev visited the site on May 1 after the evacuation of the flooded villages began.

RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports that construction of the Sardoba Reservoir dam by Uzbek state builders began in 2010 and was completed in 2017.


Uzbekistan also has signed a $23 million contract with China for the construction of a hydroelectric power station at the site of the dam.

The Chinese hydroelectric project had been scheduled for completion in 2022.