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January 06, 2015 17:39

Residents of "sleepy" Kazakh village of Kalachi offered accommodation, jobs in neighboring districts

KOKSHETAU. Jan 6 (Interfax) - Heads of nine districts from Kazakhstan's Akmola Region on Tuesday visited the village of Kalachi located in the Esil district of the same region, whose residents are suffering from a mysterious "sleeping" illness.

The delegation was led by the first deputy governor of the Akmola region, Kadyrkhan Otarov, who is leading a commission in charge of resettlement of residents of this village, deputy head of the Esil district Saule Agymbayeva told Interfax on Tuesday.

She said the heads of the Tselinograd, Zerendi, Korgalzhyn, Ereymentau, Atbasar, Zharkain, Bulandy, Zhaksy and Arshaly districts met with Kalachi residents, spoke and offered them accommodation and jobs. Families with children are the priority, and there are 58 families with 99 children.

The most worried are pensioners, since jobs are being offered at farms which need workforce and accommodation will be rented, Agymbayeva said.

At the same time, some farms in the Korgalzhyn district are offering free accommodation and can also give a cow, fodder, coal and cover relocation costs. There are also many offers from the Atbasar district.

Representatives from other districts are also planning to visit the village of Kalachi in the very near future.

At this point, 58% of the 582 residents are ready to relocate but have yet to decide where to.

Residents of the village of Kalachi and a nearby village of Krasnogorsky have been complaining about feeling sleepy, loss of memory and hallucinations since March 2013. All of them have been diagnosed with "encephalopathy of unclear etiology." By now 123 cases have been registered, with 101 previous or current sufferers, some were affected by the illness more than once.

Despite thousands of conducted studies, multiple commissions have so far been unable to establish the cause of the illness. The Akmola regional authorities promised to start resettling the residents in 2015.

The village of Kalachi is part of the Krasnogorsky rural circuit, located 600 meters from Krasnogorsky which had a population of 6,500 people, mainly mine workers (the current population is 130). During the Soviet period, the village belonged to an ore mining industry authority and produced uranium ore between 1960s and 1990s. With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991-1992, uranium production was discontinued and the mines closed.

kk

(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

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