Floods may cost Kazakhstan’s economy $446 million, says Kazakh expert

Yerlan Sairov. Photo credit: Adlet Beremkulov/ Kazinform
Yerlan Sairov. Photo credit: Adlet Beremkulov/ Kazinform

More than 97,000 people have been evacuated since the floods began in Kazakhstan. The natural phenomenon incurred significant material and financial losses. Yerlan Sairov, deputy of the Mazhilis, a lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, estimates losses may reach 200 billion tenge ($446.3 million), Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports.

Citizens across the country participate in flood resilience measures, including volunteers and ordinary citizens.

"It must be said that the government is also not in a very good position right now. The damage from the current flood, by my estimates, could exceed 200 billion tenge. Therefore, we need the assistance of private companies. Citizens who have been left homeless should face the winter in warm homes. That is the main issue,” Sairov told Kazinform as he visited the East Kazakhstan Region.

A special commission is working to assess the damage incurred by the floods.

"We are currently monitoring the situation. If necessary, we will intervene. Homes damaged by the flood should be rebuilt by the state. After that, the main concerns are livestock and people. Unfortunately, some citizens do not officially register their animals. However, both registered and unregistered livestock represent a direct loss for the population. How should this damage be compensated? That's a question. Furthermore, children have not been going to school. What will their summer holidays be like?” he said.

Sairov also mentioned that in the current situation, banks should offer certain discounts to citizens left homeless and postpone payments on large, long-term loans for a year.

“We understand that some of the flooded homes were built with loans. Some people took out loans to develop their farms, purchase livestock, or buy vehicles. They need some form of compensation. They have lost livestock, their equipment is unusable, and their businesses are at a standstill. How are they supposed to pay back their loans? There are many problems,” he said.

According to the deputy, the devastating floods reflect the need for big reforms at the local level.

“After this situation is resolved, major reforms aimed at regional development should commence. The ultimate goal of these reforms is to enhance public control and delegate more powers to the akims (regional governors). The akims had one month to procure inert materials and establish small reserves, but no one took action. (...) They are afraid to work and make decisions. Therefore, while increasing the powers of the akims, we need to strengthen public oversight because it's impossible to manage everything from Astana,” he explained.

As of April 12, a state of emergency continues in eight regions, with nearly 3,500 private homes still flooded. Sixty-seven settlements are cut off from transportation.

Additional groups of forces and equipment are being formed. Military personnel from the southern regions have been deployed to assist areas where the situation remains challenging. Regional commissions in several areas are working to calculate the damage incurred.

Vice Prime Minister Kanat Bozumbayev noted that compensation for the repair and construction of homes will begin after the respective commissions complete their work.

Issues regarding the compensation for other properties and the loss of livestock affected by the floods will be resolved soon.

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