Four people have died, more than 60 have been hospitalised, and over 100 000 have been forced to flee their homes following the failure of a dam in Uzbekistan. Part of the 29 m high Sardoba Dam in the Sirdaryo Region gave way abruptly at about 6.00 am local time on Friday 1 May 2020, sending a torrent of water through villages and agricultural land downstream. Around 70 000 people were forced to flee homes in 22 villages in Uzbekistan as a result of the incident, with another 31 600 being forced to flee from 14 villages in neighbouring Kazakhstan, with extensive scouring and loss of topsoil in agricultural areas occurring in both countries.
Flooding in the Maktaaral District of Kazakhstan following a dam collapse in neighbouring Uzbekistan on 1 May 2020. Prime Minister of Kazakhstan/The Astana Times.
The Sardoba Dam was completed in 2017 following seven years of construction work, and impounded 922 million cubic metres of water from the Sardoba River for agricultural irrigation in the Sirdaryo and Jizzakh regions of Uzbekistan. The cause of the dam failure is unclear, though authorities in Uzbekistan are investigating the possibility of negligence during construction being a contributing factor.
Landsat 8 image of the Sardoba Reservoir in Uzbekistan (bottom of image) and a new lake created by the pooling of the released water (top of image). The section of dam that failed is on the left side. Note the scouring of the land between the reservoir and the new lake. Earth Observatory/NASA.
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