Fire Kills Two Children As Kazakhstan Marks Year Since Deadly Blaze That Shook Nation

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — A fire in a village near Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, has killed two young children on the eve of the first anniversary of a similar fire that killed five children from onee family, which sparked a series of anti-government protests over the state’s failure to take care of ordinary citizens.

The fire on February 3 raced through a one-story house in the village of Ostemir, 50 kilometers from Almaty, the Interior Ministry’s Emergencies Committee said.

According to the committee, two children, born in 2016 and 2017, who were pulled from the burning house by neighbors, died while being transported to hospital by an ambulance.

The tragedy took place as people prepared to commemorate the five children killed in a similar fire on February 4, 2019, in the Kazakh capital.

Marking the first anniversary of a person’s death is a tradition in many former Soviet republics.

The predawn fire a year ago destroyed a tiny family home and killed five girls aged 3 months to 13 years while both parents were away working overnight shifts.

The tragedy sparked a series of protests across the energy-rich Central Asian country, at which demonstrators accused the government of ignoring the needs and demands of ordinary people and families.

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