Astana: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared June 12 a day of national mourning for the victims of massive wildfires in the eastern part of the country.
A wildfire broke out in the Batpayev forestry in Kazakhstan’s eastern region of Abai on Thursday due to lightning strikes. Firefighters were unable to put out the blaze quickly because the machinery could not access the area. Authorities reported that 14 forestry workers were killed in the fire.
“I declare this Monday a day of national mourning. We will mourn together with you, remembering the names of those who died. I urge you to stay strong and stay calm,” Tokayev said at a meeting with families of the victims as he arrived in Abai.
The Kazakh president described the deadly wildfire as a great tragedy for the entire nation. He promised the government’s assistance to the families of the victim and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
The latest information suggests fire has engulfed over 60,000 hectares (148,200 acres) of land. Emergency services report that over 1,000 specialists from various departments, as well as more than 200 units of equipment and 11 helicopters, are involved in firefighting efforts, which are complicated by high temperatures, wind gusts, and a large burning area.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences over the emergency to the Kazakh president.