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Kyrgyzstan: Government Struggles to Reduce Landslide Threats

Staffers of Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations pitch tents for survivors of a deadly landslide in the village of Nichke-Say. Following the tragedy, rescuers relocated 56 households from the area, moving them into temporary shelters. (Photo: Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations)

On the night of March 26 in the village of Nichke-Say in Kyrgyzstan, a fast-moving wall of rubble and ice swooshed down into a cluster of homes, crushing everything in its path.
 
One building buried in the landslide was home to six people — a young couple and their four small children, the youngest of whom was just two years old. All were later confirmed killed by the landslide. Witnesses said the flowing debris towered up to 15 meters in height and spanned 120 meters in width.
 
Officials said the two adults killed in the incident – Gulayym Sulaimanova and her 27-year-old husband Omurzak Egemkulov – had been living in their Nichke-Say home for seven years prior to the tragedy. They chose the spot because it was where the old house belonging to Egemkulov’s father once stood.
 
In 1996, emergency services representatives pleaded with the older Egemkulov to leave the area, warning that it was in what they termed a high-risk “red zone” for landslides.
 

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Nurjamal Djanibekova is a reporter based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan: Government Struggles to Reduce Landslide Threats

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