Sat, 25 May 2019

At least 11 people have been killed and some 30 others injured in a bus crash in southern Kazakhstan, on a route used by Central Asian migrants to travel to Russia, the Kazakh Interior Ministry says.

The accident occurred on the Almaty-Tashkent highway in the Kordai district of the southern province of Zhambyl in the early morning of April 20, the ministry said. Authorities say there were Kazakh and Uzbek citizens among the victims.

Interim President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev expressed condolences to the families of the victims and said he has sent a telegram to the president of Uzbekistan.

Toqaev added that 'the situation on our roads is alarming, as I said at a meeting at the Interior Ministry. I instructed the government to take urgent measures.'

Ambulances, rescue teams, police, and other officials were dispatched to the scene, local media reported. Police have launched an investigation.

The route is widely used by Uzbek, Tajik, and other Central Asian migrant workers to travel to and from Russia, where millions of Central Asians are engaged in seasonal jobs in construction sites, factories, and farms.

In January 2018, 52 Uzbek citizens were killed when a bus carrying the migrant workers caught fire on a highway in Kazakhstan's northwestern Aqtobe region.

Investigators said the cause of the fire was an open flame on a portable gas cooker that was being used for heat inside the vehicle.

Survivors of that accident were quoted as saying that the bus didnt have a functioning heater and the passengers were using the device to warm themselves.

With reporting by Tengrinews.kz, RFE/RLs Kazakh Service, and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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