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Mass poisoning in western Kazakhstan: KPO denies breaching environmental standards

December 8 2014, 00:46

More children from Berezovka village in West Kazakhstan Oblast lying just five kilometers away from major Karachaganak field have been hospitalized, tengrinews reports.

First mass poisoning of schoolchildren took place in the village of Berezovka on 28 November. The locals said they could smell something strange before the incident. They blamed the bad ecological situation caused by practices at Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field developed by Chevron, BG Group, Eni, Lukoil and KazMunaiGas.

Then there was another bunch of schoolchildren hospitalized.

Now, on December 5, six more children have been brought to the hospital, in the third wave of hospitalization of children. One unconscious girl was rushed into the district hospital in Aksai.

Parents of students who were discharged from the hospital earlier say their kids are still unwell.

On December 3 Prosecutor of the Oblast confirmed that there were several hydrogen sulfide emissions at the field exceeding the normal amounts right before the mass poisoning.

However, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. that develops the field, insists their experts and equipment detected no excesses of the maximum permissible concentrations of harmful substances in the village Berezovka.

The company expressed concern over the poisoning of children and teachers but said the causes were yet to be identified.

“While the cause of the incident remains unknown, we are actively participating in the Berezovka incident investigation and we are working in close cooperation with the Western Kazakhstan Oblast authorities and all relevant authorities,” they said.

The company also stressed that it was “supplying all the relevant data including information from the environmental monitoring stations set up arounds the field to the investigating authorities”.

They added that a “mobile environmental monitoring station” was sent to the village and again detected “no excess of the official maximum permissible concentrations”.

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