Kazakhstan has evacuated settlements located next to a military facility in its southern Zhambyl province after it was rocked by a series of powerful blasts that wounded at least 60 people, authorities in the Central Asian nation said on Thursday.
The blasts followed a fire at the facility, where some engineering-purpose explosives were stored, deputy defence minister Ruslan Shpekbayev said. Separately, traffic and railway authorities said they were closing off a road and a railroad passing through the area.
Sixty people have been hospitalised with injuries from the blasts, the provincial government said, adding that the fire had yet to be put out.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a series of tweets that at least 30 of the wounded were military servicemen or emergency workers and the incident was being investigated.
Videos posted online showed that the explosion took place not far from a major road connecting provincial centre Taraz to Almaty, the country’s business hub and biggest city.
Four people were killed and dozens hurt in a similar accident in the Kazakh town of Arys in 2019, when blasts at a munitions depot forced authorities to evacuate the whole town of 44,000 people.