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44,000 evacuated after ammo depot blast

25 June 2019

One person has been killed and over 70 injured after an ammo depot exploded in Kazakhstan on June 24. The blast happened in the town of Arys, located in the southern Turkistan region, and forced the evacuation of around 44,000 locals.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

According to Russia Today, the incident happened at an ammunition depot in a military base and began with a single blast before a number of subsequent explosions caused large plumes of smoke to rise into the sky.

One person was killed after their car was struck by a projectile, the local governor said. 

The cause of the initial explosion is yet to be determined as authorities warn the explosions could continue for a number of days. The military base is thought to be an old, Soviet-era munitions depot. The government has enforced a state of emergency in the local area until further notice.

According to the website, eurasianet, the smoke from the blast was picked up by satellite imagery and covered an area of 90 kilometres by 45 kilometres. Social media footage thought to be from the scene showed military personnel and locals fleeing in panic as explosions are heard in the background.

This is the second time that Arys has experienced an explosion at an ammunition depot after three people were killed in 2009. Blasts at Soviet-era ammunition dumps have occurred a number of times in former Soviet states as a result of inadequate storage facilities. In 2018, 12,000 people were evacuated from a Ukrainian town following a blast at an ammunition depot.

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