ISSN 2330-717X

Turkmenistan: Blasts At Ammunition Depot; Casualties Reported

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A series of blasts occurred Thursday afternoon at the ammunitions depot inAbadan, an industrial town some 25 km west of Ashgabat. The severity of the explosions knocked down several residential buildings in the vicinity and a huge fire erupted in the depot.

The authorities scrambled to contain the aftermath of the accident. President Berdymuhamedov chaired an emergency joint session of the cabinet of ministers and the national security council. Instructions were issued to provide immediate relief to the affected area.

There were several blasts in quick succession sometime after 4 pm at theAbadanammunitions depot. A government press release says that the blasts occurred when the fireworks stores at the depot caught fire because of summer heat.

The temperature yesterday at that time was about 37 C.

Large sections of Ashgabat lost power supply immediate after the explosions. The power was restored at about 8:30 pm by re-wiring the high power supply networks to the Annew powerhouse, in the eastern suburb of Ashgabat.

Ambulances rushed to carry the victims to hospitals in Ashgabat. The government press release says that there were no deaths and injuries however witness accounts suggest that casualties have taken place as direct and indirect consequence of the accident.

Military and armed police units started patrolling the streets inAbadanimmediately after the explosions but the town was not cordoned off to visitors or traffic.

A towering plum of smoke rose from the ammunitions depot and dissolved slowly in some five hours. It was visible from the farthest areas of Ashgabat.

The extent of damage to life and property is yet to be assessed.

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