Children Among Nine Killed in Mudflows in Kyrgyzstan

Image: Termush YouTube

Mudflows caused by heavy rains have killed at least nine people, including four Kazakh children, in an area of southwestern Kyrgyzstan that is popular among tourists for its natural scenery. Search operations were continuing on Sunday.

Kyrgyz authorities declared a state of emergency in the Nookat district of the Osh region after the downpours on Friday. Roads, bridges and power lines were damaged and several hundred emergency responders, including police and military personnel, were deployed to help with searches and evacuations.

Photos and video posted on Telegram by Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations showed rescuers, some in military uniforms, escorting people alongside a fast-flowing river in a ravine. Some carried young children and held onto a rope fixed alongside the ravine wall as they walked.

Citing Kyrgyz officials, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the bodies of four Kazakh children had been found and that its diplomats are helping relatives of the victims. The bodies of the children will be returned to Kazakhstan in “the near future,” the ministry said on Telegram.

Akylbek Japarov, chairman of Kyrgyzstan´s Cabinet of Ministers, flew over Nookat district on Sunday to assess the damage and said the government will provide “all-round support” to help those affected, the official Kabar news agency reported.

Nookat is popular among trekkers and hikers who enjoy its mountain and forest scenery, particularly in the summer months.