Thursday, May 23, 2024
 
 

Kazakhstan focuses on flood recovery

Budget consolidation forces cancellation of this year's Astana International Forum
AKORDA

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Sweeping across Central Asia, massive floods wreaked havoc in multiple regions of Kazakhstan, leaving thousands of people homeless. The floods are the worst the country has seen in the past 80 years.

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev described the flooding across the north of the country as a national disaster on April 16 and ordered his government to free up funds for relief efforts by cutting spending elsewhere.

Due to the severe flooding in Kazakhstan Tokayev also announced the cancellation of the Astana International Forum, which was scheduled for June 13-14. “Due to the severe flooding in Kazakhstan and the need to allocate financial resources for relief efforts and aid for affected citizens, I have made the decision to cancel the Astana International Forum that was scheduled for June 13-14 this year,” wrote Tokayev in his X account.

Tokayev expressed his hopes for the understanding of the invited participants and confirmed the event will come back in 2025. AIF is an annual international forum that convenes world and business leaders to engage in dialogue on pressing issues and seek new opportunities for collaboration. In 2023, it gathered over 5,000 participants from more than 50 countries in Astana.

Thousands displaced, situation stabilizing

Since the onset of the flooding, 111,194 people have been rescued and evacuated, with 39,222 of them being children, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations on April 15. At least 11,950 people have returned home, while 6,814 people, including 2,995 children, are currently housed in temporary accommodation centers. More than 106,000 farm animals have been transported to safety.

In the Akmola, Aktobe, Kostanai, Atyrau, North Kazakhstan, and East Kazakhstan regions, 5,411 private residential houses and 1,607-yard territories remain flooded. Over 9.5 million cubic meters of meltwater have been drained, while 2.2 million bags and 1.2 million tons of inert material have been deployed. Water has been diverted from 3,503 homes and 2,157 yards. Nearly 1,400 tons of humanitarian aid have been delivered to affected regions.

The flood situation has stabilized in the Aktobe, Kostanai, Karaganda, Pavlodar, Abai and Ulytau regions. However, there is a threat of a secondary wave of floods over Atyrau, West Kazakhstan, East Kazakhstan, Akmola, and North Kazakhstan regions.

Across Kazakhstan, citizens and volunteer organizations are mobilizing to provide support, organize humanitarian aid, and coordinate relief efforts for flood-affected regions.

Air Astana and FlyArystan have helped during floods, including transferring 1 billion tenge to the Samruk-Kazyna Trust Fund to help those affected by floods. Moreover, 75 tons of humanitarian cargo worth the equivalent of 34 million tenge have been transported free of charge from Almaty and Astana to Atyrau, Aktau and Uralsk.

Also, 41 additional flights from Atyrau were introduced, which allowed about 23,000 people to immediately fly on regular and additional flights from Atyrau to Almaty, Astana, Aktau, Aktobe and Shymkent, Air Astana said.

The world community, including the European Union and the UK via British Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kathy Leach said they stand ready to support Kazakhstan. Moreover, during his General Audience, Pope Francis requested prayers for those affected by massive flooding in Kazakhstan.

The massive floods in Kazakhstan are an example how increasingly vulnerable people are not just in Europe but in Central Asia to the effects of climate change and global warming, Fabienne Bossuyt, Belgian expert for Central Asia from Ghent University, said at a conference devoted to energy transition in Central Asia held in the Press Club of Brussels.

Kazakhstan to play an active role in COP29

Tackling climate change will be a priority for Kazakhstan in the 29th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 29), scheduled for November in Baku. Zulfiya Suleimenova, advisor to the President of Kazakhstan and Special Representative for International Environmental Cooperation, said during her recent working visit to Azerbaijan that Kazakhstan will play an active role in COP29.

Zulfiya Suleimenova, advisor to the President of Kazakhstan and Special Representative for International Environmental Cooperation, during her recent working visit to Baku, Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan representatives underscored the significance of laying electric cables beneath the Black and Caspian Seas to export green electricity to Europe as a substantial contribution to promoting the green agenda.

Suleimenova emphasized Tokayev’s close attention to environmental protection. She spoke about Kazakhstan’s initiatives to transition to green energy. These include the project office for Central Asian countries on climate and green energy being established in Almaty, with project portfolio formation underway.

In support of Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in COP29, Suleimenova proposed initiating joint projects to combat climate change, which was welcomed by her Azerbaijani counterparts. They acknowledged Kazakhstan’s significant achievements in promoting environmental initiatives and shaping appropriate legislation.

 

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