Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 16:03 GMT

Devastating Blast Leaves Mark on Turkmen Town

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 14 September 2011
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Devastating Blast Leaves Mark on Turkmen Town, 14 September 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e76db812.html [accessed 23 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Two months after an ammunition dump went up in flames in the town of Abadan in central Turkmenistan, residents are still coming to terms with the devastation. 

The 50,000 residents of Abadan, some 20 kilometres from the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, were evacuated as a series of explosions at a military depot rocked the town on July 7.

The authorities said 15 people died, including two members of the military, but Khronika Turkmenistana, a human rights reporting site run by émigrés, said it had information about 1,382 deaths, a third of them of children.

The exploding munitions destroyed surrounding homes and offices. In the village of Gunesh, close by the arms dump, 127 houses were flattened.

Government investigators dispatched to Abadan said the fire was caused by extremely hot weather.

For more on the accident, and how local residents used the internet to get the story out to the world, see Web Users Evade Controls To Report Turkmen Blast.

People eventually began returning to their homes, and the government promised to rebuild Abadan. President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov announced an urban development programme for the town, lasting until 2030.

Even now, though, the town looks empty, and residents say it will take a long time to forget what happened there.

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