Kazakh Citizens, Businesses Launch Campaigns to Support Wildfire Victims in Abai Region

ASTANA – Kazakh firefighters and emergency rescue teams are continuing to battle wildfires in the Abai Region, which erupted on June 8 in the Batpayev forestry and quickly spread to surrounding areas covering 60,000 hectares of forested mountainous territory.

Kazakh firefighters continue efforts to extinguish the forest fire in the Abai Region. Photo credit: Kazinform. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources informed that as of June 12, efforts to extinguish the fires continued in three directions – in the southern, western, and eastern edges.

Approximately 1,530 people, 14 helicopters, and more than 320 equipment units of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the forestry committee, local executive bodies, and the Ministry of Defense are involved in the operation.

Volunteers nationwide have organized fundraising events to assist affected families and firefighters. Over 100 volunteers from the cities of Semei, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Astana, and Ozerka village have provided various support to the firefighters, including food and personal care items, as well as assisting at food points at night.

Volunteers buy products, necessary items on the collected funds from the public. Photo credit: Abai Region’s administration.

Samruk-Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund allocated 200 million tenge ($446,249) to help the victims. The funds will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to the residents of the evacuated villages and rescuers involved in extinguishing the fire.

Freedom Finance Bank is launching special insurance payments to support the children of those killed in the fire. According to the bank’s CEO, Timur Turlov, children of the victims will receive special insurance monthly payments worth 200,000 tenge ($446) until adulthood.

The families of the victims will be paid 7 million tenge ($15,618) from the Kazakhstan Khalkyna fund, as well as 2 million tenge ($4,462) for each minor child, Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov announced during a June 12 meeting on support measures for the affected families. The country has created a special fund to assist the families of the deceased and injured.

Families of the victims will receive an allowance for the loss of the breadwinner from the national budget for all the family members below the working age, as well as a one-time social allowance for the loss of a breadwinner from the National Social Insurance Fund for all family members unable to work. Families will also be provided with furnished housing and expenses to cover the funeral.

In addition, loans and credit of the deceased and their families will be written-off.

More than 40 Kazakh universities announced that they will provide grants and accommodation to students from the affected families. Students and undergraduates studying on a paid basis will receive a free education.

Prime Minister Smailov instructed relevant agencies to assess all the circumstances of the wildfire and its consequences within ten days and provide a conclusive report.

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