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Series of explosions at ammunition depot kills 15, injures 98 in Kazakhstan

30 August 2021

An arms depot explosion in southern Kazakhstan killed 15 people and injured 98 others on August 26. Kazakhstan’s Emergency Ministry confirmed the death toll after further bodies were found amongst the rubble following search and rescue efforts on August 30. One person remains missing, the ministry said.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The incident happened at a military facility in the Zhambyl region. Kazakhstan’s Defence Minister Nurlan Ermekbaev told journalists that the cause of the initial explosion remains unknown and that an investigation was already underway.

In addition to the 15 people killed, 98 people were injured with around half of those being employees of the Kazakh Emergency Ministry who were injured while fighting a large fire caused by the blasts.

The site of the explosions is reported to have been a storage area in the military facility where “engineering explosives” were housed. According to some report, around 500 tonnes of explosives were stored at the site.

Local villages were evacuated following the blasts with around 1,200 local residents moved to safe areas after debris from the explosions was found up to a mile away from the military base.

A day of national mourning was held on August 29 for the military personnel and rescuers who died during the incident.

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