President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared June 12 a day of national mourning for those killed in a forest fire in the Abai region in the south-east of the country. A forest fire has been raging there for several days on the territory of the Batpaevsky forestry. Due to the fire, a state of emergency was declared in the area.
As a result of the disaster, 14 employees of the Novoshulbinsk branch of the Semey Ormany reserve were killed. A criminal case has been opened on the fact of the death of people.
President Tokayev arrived in the disaster area and listened to representatives of local authorities and residents. This made it possible to identify a number of serious shortcomings and miscalculations in the activities of the regional authorities and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan. Relatives of the victims told President Tokayev that the foresters of the reserve who fought the fire did not have any special equipment with them. They also complained that special equipment and spare parts do not work in the forestries, and employees have to go to work in their own cars.
Tokayev called the delayed reaction of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and other departments to the message about the fire negligence and unprofessionalism. According to him, the ministry gave the wrong forecast on the scale of the disaster. Later, at a meeting of the operational headquarters, Tokayev severely criticized the leadership of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and akims for indifference to their duties. The president called the report on the fire by Vice Minister for Emergency Situations Marat Kuldikov "stupid" and "absolutely irrelevant." He also reprimanded the oblast akim Nurlan Urankhaev for improper performance of his duties and instructed the new Minister for Emergency Situations to consider the "personnel" situation. Tokayev also gave a number of instructions to the government and the leadership of the Abai region in connection with a large-scale fire.
June 12, 2023