President Tokayev Addresses Assistance for Flood Victims at Assembly of People of Kazakhstan

ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the government’s efforts to aid flood victims at the 33rd session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK) on April 25 in Astana, reported the Akorda press service.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the XXXII session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan  in 2023. Photo credit: Akorda

It has been almost a month since Kazakhstan’s eastern, northern. and western regions were affected by massive floods. 

Despite the catastrophic nature of these floods, they have united the people of Kazakhstan, said Tokayev. He highlighted the role of the assembly in providing assistance to those affected.

“From the first days of the floods, everyone witnessed the active and well-coordinated work of the assembly. The APK’s central and regional headquarters were deployed as soon as possible to provide comprehensive support to the victims,” said Tokayev. 

He mentioned a large-scale initiative undertaken by the assembly, called Zhurekten Zhurekke (from heart to heart), with over 1,500 tons of food and essential goods worth around 770 million tenge ($1.7 million) sent to the devastated areas so far.

“The assembly has once again shown in practice that it is not a merely symbolic organization, as some people try to claim, but an effective promoter of the values of unity and solidarity of our nation, an important public body with constitutional status,” he added.

Tokayev reiterated that the government will reimburse damages to all affected.

“No one will be left without support. Budget expenditures will be reduced to prioritize urgent tasks in addressing the aftermath of the floods. The country will introduce a regime of austerity of public funds,” he said.

Preventive efforts

Speaking of preventive measures, Tokayev highlighted the need to create an effective system of combating natural disasters.

“It is necessary to practically rebuild the interaction between the state and science to take preventive measures against natural disasters. Upon my instruction, the Kazakh Hydromelioration and Civil Engineering Institute in Taraz is being re-established and the Institute of Seismology in Almaty will be strengthened,” said the President.

Another area of work will focus on the study and containment of climate change. 

“It is necessary to reorganize the whole water management system, including such companies as Kazvodkhoz [a state-owned company in charge of water supply and irrigation water conveyance services] and Nura group water supply,” said Tokayev.

The majority of dams, reservoirs, and water management infrastructure in Kazakhstan, constructed in the 1950-70s, have not been upgraded to withstand the effects of floods. This has exacerbated the consequences, resulting in the worst floods the country has seen in the past 80 years.

“Therefore, 20 new reservoirs will be built in 11 regions of Kazakhstan and 15 existing reservoirs will be reconstructed, which will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in 134 settlements,” said President Tokayev.

“We will renovate the technical base of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, strengthen its provision with special equipment, helicopters, and airplanes. The national hydrogeological service will also be reconstituted, which will deal with the exploration and protection of underground water resources,” he added.

Reconstruction efforts

The government will provide sufficient relief and repair amid widespread destruction, said Tokayev.

“After the big waters recede, reconstruction of the affected regions will begin. Firstly, citizens will be compensated for the damage, [then] construction of houses, allocation of apartments and restoration of destroyed infrastructure will begin. This extensive work must be completed within a short timeframe of five months, spanning the summer and fall seasons. I am sure we will manage this together,” he said.

Relief measures include the allocation of one-time payment to each affected family, compensation for damaged or destroyed property following damage assessment, and repair or replacement of the damaged housing. Citizens will have the opportunity to relocate to places with better economic potential and environmental conditions.

The assembly’s objectives

Founded in 1995, the assembly is a constitutional body aimed at strengthening the ethnic accord in the country and ensuring all rights and freedoms of citizens are observed regardless of one’s ethnic affiliation.

Setting tasks for the assembly, Tokayev reiterated its role as a tool designed to address five social vices. These include drug addiction, gambling, family and societal violence, vandalism, and prodigality, as discussed during the National Kurultai meeting in Atyrau in March.

“The focus of the assembly should always be on practical activities to identify and preventively address possible hotbeds of ethno-social tension,” he added.

Next year also marks the assembly’s 30th anniversary.

“The assembly has proved to be an effective instrument of our calibrated policy of inter-ethnic harmony and national unity. As a unique civic institution, the assembly has made a useful contribution to preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust in society. We will use the forthcoming milestone anniversary to explain and popularize the APK’s activities and to involve citizens in the painstaking work of strengthening the unity of our people,” stated Tokayev.

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