|July 11, 1998|
Awful flood kills many in Ferghana
Reuters reported about an awful flood in Ferghana oblast. Officials from Uzbekistan and neighbouring Kyrgyzstan told Reuters that thawing ice and snow in the Kyrgyzstan mountains caused the river to break its banks and rush into Uzbekistan. Uzbek officials said several villages near the densely populated town of Fergana had been wiped out. A government commission has been urgently dispatched to the settlement of Shakhimardan, Fergana region, to study the situation on the ground. Rescuers, police and special teams of paramedics have also been sent to the inundated settlement. The government has promised aid to the victims of the flood, the consequences of which are expected to be estimated in two to three days, the Ministry for Emergency Situations said. More than 60 people have been found dead after a flood raced through a populous valley in former Soviet Uzbekistan,
Uzbek emergency services said on Thursday.
A spokesman said the figure was provisional and that the toll could rise further as rescuers picked through the remains of villages shattered by Wednesday's flash river flood in the Fergana Valley, which rises eastward out of Uzbekistan toward mountainous Kyrgyzstan.
Worst hit was the town of Shakhimardan. Officials could not confirm a report on Russian television that the death toll could be over 500.
According to deputy head of administration of the Fergana region Alisher Atabayev, the cause for the tragedy was the lack of appropriate control over the situation around mountainous lakes by Kirghizia's meteorological services. "If they had timely informed their Uzbek colleagues of the water movement, the tragedy might have been avoided with people evacuated beforehand," he said.
President travels to Samarkand
President Islam Karimov visited Samarkand to learn about preparations for Imam Al-Bukhari's 1225th jubilee, the city's new construction plan and the developments in agriculture. Governor (khokim) of Samarkand oblast Alisher Mardiev reported to the president about the fulfillment of the State order for grain.
Illegal vodka detected and destroyed
According to ITAR-TASS, Several thousand bottles of illicit vodka have
been immediately liquidated in the Surkhandarja region of Uzbekistan following a
decision made by as special commission of the regional administration.
The illicit cargo was found by agents of the Customs and Uzbek National
Security Services who inspected trucks loaded with vodka bottles several days
"Alcohol production in Uzbekistan and vodka production, in particular, is a
monopoly of the state only and the sale of alcohol shall be made in compliance
with rules envisaged by law. Regrettably, there are still dealers in Uzbekistan
who attempt to bypass law so as to avoid payment of excise tax," Deputy
Chairman of the Uzbek Customs Committee Saidazim Aripov told Itar-Tass.
The incident attracted attention not only because of the absence of excise
trademarks on the bottles found. Secret services drew attention to the fact that
this batch of illicit vodka which was to be sent to neighboring Tajikistan was
absolutely unfit for use. A regional laboratory of the Standardization and
Certification Center and sanitary- epidemiologic laboratories established a high
concentration of substances in the liquid which might cause cancer.
Incidentally, the words "Black death" on labels of the vodka bottles seem to
confirm that the hazardous mixture justified its name.
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