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20-07-2015, 11:23

Landslide destroys dozens of houses in east Tajikistan

Avesta.Tj | 20.07.2015 | Dozens of houses have been destroyed after being buried by a landslide from the Gunt River in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) in eastern Tajikistan, a spokesman for the country’s Committee on Emergency Situations and Civil Defense Orif Nozimov said on Monday.

The local populated areas are at risk of being further flooded, said Nozimov adding that human casualties have been avoided, residents are being evacuated.

The natural disaster destroyed 56 households, washed away a school, six shops, roads and overhead power lines, Nozimov said.

He said that the local residents are still facing risk from floods and are being evacuated to safe areas.

"Three helicopters are evacuating the residents at present, and delivering food, tents and essentials to the areas where many people have already lived in nearby mountains for three days,” the spokesman said.

At the altitude of about 2,500 meters above sea level, the landslide blocked the River Gunt (a tributary of the Panj River on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan), leading to formation of an artificial water body which has gradually started covering the areas of the villages of Barsem and Berdikov, Nozimov said.

A governmental commission has been deployed to the disaster zone to assess the damage.

There are ten small hydro-power plants in GBAO, generating electricity for 210,000 people living in the region.

Moreover, landslides in Shugnan and Roshtkali districts and in parts of the Rushan and Ishkoshim districts led to power cuts.

The Shugnan and Roshtkali districts have a total population of 64,000 people and are situated about 30 to 50 kilometers from Khorug, the administrative center of the region, which is itself 520 kilometers southeast of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

Nozimov said that 4.5 kilometers of highway had been washed away, including 2.5 kilometers of the international highway between Khorug and Osh connecting GBAO to the city of Osh in Kyrgyzstan, and farther to China.

Mountains cover around 93 percent of Tajik territory. Precipitation in the mountains often causes rockfalls, avalanches and landslides leading to significant damage in valleys.