March 16, 2010 / 7:38 AM / 10 years ago

Kazakhstan flood death toll rises to 37

Rescuers remove debris after a flood in the village of Kyzyl-Agash, some 400 km (249 miles) north of the financial capital Almaty March 13, 2010. REUTERS/Anatoly Ustinenko

ASTANA (Reuters) - The number of victims of last week’s flood that destroyed a village near Kazakh financial hub Almaty has risen to 37, a deputy prime minister said Tuesday.

“According to the preliminary data of the Emergencies Ministry, 37 bodies have been recovered already,” Aset Isekeshev told a government meeting. The previous toll was 34.

Eager to show decisive leadership at a time of economic hardship, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ordered the government to investigate the rupture Friday of a dam, and bring to justice those responsible.

In a statement issued after Nazarbayev’s order, the interior ministry said it had detained five officials including the mayor of Kyzyl-Agash, a village which was completely destroyed when the nearby dam burst, flooding hilly pastures north of Almaty.

Spring flooding is a frequent occurrence in Central Asia but a sudden rise in temperatures following weeks of heavy snow storms has exacerbated the problem this year. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov)

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