Victims of Deadly Storm in Eastern Turkmenistan Still Being Identified

A 51-year-old teacher is the latest victim to be named following the high winds that swept across Lebap and Mary regions on April 27.

Naila Yenikeyeva

Naila Yenikeyeva died when an electricity pole fell on top of her near her house in the town of Farap. The chemistry and biology teacher was returning home that evening from School No. 29 in Turkmenabat where she had completed the sixth lesson on the afternoon shift. A passing motorist took Naila Yenikeyeva to hospital, but she died en route. She wasn’t carrying any ID, so her body lay unidentified in the morgue for a long time.

“Naila was kind and helpful, an excellent teacher, and a caring mother,” a source told “She is an irreplaceable loss for our school. May she rest in peace.”

Naila Yenikeyeva leaves two adult sons, who are both studying in Russia and could not return to Turkmenistan to accompany their mother on her final journey. The teacher’s colleagues and former pupils helped her relatives to organize her funeral and memorial gatherings.

Sources on the ground report that the hurricane claimed dozens of lives in Mary and Lebap regions. earlier reported the death of Bagul Yapunova, 14, from Mary. A lamppost fell on the schoolgirl in the courtyard of her apartment block in the city’s third residential district.

Bagul Yapunova

On April 28 and 29, funerals were held in almost every district of Turkmenabat. A father and daughter, Jumaniyaz and Selbi, were killed in Lebap region, but the precise location is unknown. They were sheltering from the storm in their car when a gust of wind brought a pylon down onto their vehicle.

Turkmenistan’s authorities and the state media have not uttered a word about the natural disaster and its tragic consequences. Lebap region has been abandoned to its fate. Hundreds of families in Turkmenabat, Farap, and other towns have been left literally with no roof over their heads. Only a few days after the storm did conscripts appear in Turkmenabat and the surrounding areas and begin to clear up the rubble – most buildings had lost roofs while some were completely destroyed.

Sources in Turkmenabat report that there is still no regular supply of gas, electricity, and water in many districts. People cannot withdraw money, there is a shortage of foodstuffs, and building materials have rocketed in price. A kilogram of nails costs 100 manats ($5), ten times its pre-hurricane price of 10 manats. Roof repairs are continuing in schools and kindergartens, for which 200 manats ($10) have been taken from every teacher.

Meanwhile, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is dishing out humanitarian aid left and right: first to Afghanistan to mark the month of Ramadan, then to Russia’s Astrakhan region where many ethnic Turkmen live and there’s a high number of coronavirus infections. On May 6, Berdimuhamedov expressed “the deepest sympathy to the people of Uzbekistan over the recent natural disaster that brought significant destruction to many towns and cities”. He was referring to the breach in the dam at Sardob reservoir in Uzbekistan’s Syrdarya region. Berdimuhamedov said Turkmenistan was ready to provide the necessary aid to the affected districts, “to send equipment and personnel, and to provide all possible assistance in restoring infrastructure”. expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Naila Yenikeyeva and Bagul Yapunova. Sadly, we will probably hear about more victims of the hurricane. At present only five to ten children are attending school classes, and teachers say they cannot reach many families by telephone.