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31 Die in Tajikistan Landslides

April 28, 1998

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) _ Landslides triggered by torrential rains killed at least 31 people in this Central Asian nation. A hundred others remained missing after their village was buried by rocks and mud.

The Tajik Interior Ministry had put the death toll at 19 and said thousands were left homeless by the weekend flooding and landslides.

But Deputy Premier Ismat Eshmirzoyev said today after returning from a trip to the disaster area that 29 people were confirmed dead in the village of Navde, in the Pamir Mountains. At least two other people died elsewhere in the former Soviet republic.

About 100 of Navde’s residents are unaccounted for, Eshmirzoyev said. The village was buried under huge rocks and thick layers of mud.

The floods and landslides, described as the area’s worst in 30 years, also hit other regions of Tajikistan, affecting large tracts of farmland, washing away bridges, destroying roads and power lines and damaging homes in scores of villages.

The government has estimated damage at $65 million.

Officials attributed the casualties and damage to the poor condition of dams and water control systems built during the Soviet era. The cash-strapped Tajik government has lacked funds for proper maintenance.

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