Government claims that children received medical care. Parents disagree

It has become known that in March, the Department of Health Care of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan finally answered last year’s letter from the parents of the children of Berezovka. The children were seriously injured in the accident at the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field in November 2014. Parents asked Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, to provide treatment abroad, as children continue to get sick, and they have not been provided with appropriate medical assistance in the country. The letter of 11 parents was supported by well-known environmentalists and winners of the Goldman Prize (equivalent to the Nobel Prize in environmental protection) from 29 countries.

The department official’s reply says, “The treatment and examination of children are provided within the guaranteed volume of free medical care in full . . . . In July of this year, an examination of the children of the village of Berezovka was held in the consultative-diagnostic polyclinic of the West Kazakhstan regional children’s hospital by the main freelance specialists. According to their conclusion, there is no need for consultations with international experts or for treatment abroad.”

However, only one child, whose parents signed a letter to the authorities, underwent the specified examination. According to the mother of the injured girl, Zulfiya Kusmangaliyeva, the examination was of a perfunctory nature. They did not receive written results. The rest of the parents refused the examination, as they do not trust local doctors.

“Instead of a clear answer, officials told the parents about an examination of other children, while the children of these people could not get a diagnosis or appropriate free treatment from Kazakh healthcare. Nevertheless, while refusing to allocate money to help the children, some local officials still find it possible to budget funds for expensive cars. For example, the akim (mayor) of the West Kazakhstan region of Altai Kulginov, where the injured children live, just bought an official car for 169 thousand dollars. This sum have been more than sufficient to cover the examination of 11 children in Israel—with some money left over to pay for their treatment,” says Sergey Solyanik consultant Crude Accountability, co-coordinator of the Coalition” Children or oil? “.

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On November 28, 2014, 25 children and 4 adult residents of Berezovka fainted, developed strong cramps, became dizzy, and experienced blood pressure surges and severe headaches. The village of Berezovka is located in the West Kazakhstan region, in close proximity to the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field, one of the world’s largest.

On November 29, 2014, a criminal case on the fact of a mass sickness that affected students and teachers in Berezovka was opened. As part of the investigation, a school boiler was also checked to determine if it was involved in the poisoning. A separate proceeding was opened on May 28, 2015. The August 24, 2015 case regarding the boiler was discontinued for lack of evidence.

The Children or Oil coalition asks Chevron, Eni, the BP Group (now Shell), Lukoil and KazMunaiGaz and Kazakhstan authorities to take responsibility for the tragedy, to recognize that there was a toxic poisoning as a result of an industrial accident, and accordingly to arrange for the examination and treatment of Berezovka children and ensure that they are compensated for any damage to their health.

For more information:

Sergey Solyanik, Crude Accountability                                   Children or Oil? Coalition

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