First came the floods, which in May 2010 killed three people and left thousands homeless. Then came the flood of complaints about compensation. More than a year after central Azerbaijan’s Kura and Araz Rivers burst through dams, reconstruction of damaged houses and other buildings has begun, but, along with the work, plenty of local suspicion about who gets what and why.
Green fields, newly rehabilitated schools and sturdy new houses now mark the landscape in Sabirabad region, one of the worst affected areas. Officials claim that approximately 300 million manats (about $360 million) have been spent on repairing houses and infrastructure in the area as well as compensating thousands of victims of the flooding along the Kura and Araz Rivers.
Dozens of villagers, though, still petition the local authorities daily with complaints and demands. Many complain that the government has not distributed the handouts evenhandedly. Sometimes, little apparent reason exists to explain the discrepancies.
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Vladic Ravich is a freelance journalist based in New York City.