A year after Arys explosions: clearing of territory is in progress
The work on elimination of consequences of the emergency situation that happened in the town of Arys in southern Kazakhstan’s Turkistan region last year continues. A joint detachment is working on the spot. However, it is too early to state that the work is nearing completion. Experts say that a complete clearing after the explosion at an ammunition depot can take years. The military personnel will have to clear every square in order to avoid consequences in the future, Head of the Rear Logistics and Armaments Department of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan Assylbek Satvaldinov said at the press briefing.
“The clearing of the territory of a military base in the town of Arys, where the blasts at a munitions depot occurred, will take another three to five years. Currently, the main work is carried out in the first territory, which was the epicenter of the explosion. After they finish all the clearing there, the military personnel will proceed to the most difficult part, to the next stage, which is the storage. The most difficult work lies there,” Satvaldinov said.
A year has passed since the explosions in Arys. The affected area amounted to 500 hectares. During all this time, specialists were liquidating the consequences of the emergency. Search teams, as well as groups of engineering intelligence and mine clearance were involved. They examined more than 300 square meters of sown fields of the nearest rural districts. The sappers of the mobile group processed more than 740 applications of local residents. They neutralized more than 4,500 ammunition fragments.
“Nearly 380,000 ammunition fragments were removed from Arys during the year, of which nearly 300,000 were explosive. For their transportation, more than 5,000 car rides operated accompanied by military guards. The main work on the destruction of the explosive pieces is conducted at the ‘Bastarma’ landfill located 50 kilometers from the town of Arys,” Satvaldinov added.
In addition, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Kazakh Armed Forces Ruslan Shpekbayev said that an inventory of engineering ammunition remaining in the neighboring territory is currently underway.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the Arys residents for their understanding of the whole situation and timely report about the explosive objects, as well as their discipline and, of course, support of our military personnel. The efforts of doing everything to ensure the safety of our citizens remain a priority for us,” Shpekbayev noted.
One year ago, on June 24, a fire broke out in one of the ammunition depots in the military base near Arys, followed by explosions. As a result of the emergency, three people were killed and more than 160 people were injured.