AVALANCHE RISK IN KAZAKHSTAN AT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF AVALANCHE DANGER
A review was made of avalanche accidents in Kazakhstan. Data on casualties and damage processed for the period 1951–2020. The aim of the study is to analyze avalanche incidents and develop recommendations for their prevention. The relationship between accidents and the degree of avalanche danger in mountainous areas is also considered. In total, over the period studied,
95 accidents occurred in Kazakhstan, 95 people died and 93 people were injured. The largest number of avalanche incidents occurred in the vicinity of the city of Almaty on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Park – 81%. The most avalanche months are March-April (38 and 21%, respectively). The main victims of avalanches are extreme sports enthusiasts. Most of the victims themselves provoked avalanches – 56% of cases.
The relationship between the level of avalanche danger and avalanche risk was studied. For this, data were collected on avalanche situations in the area of the Shymbulak avalanche station for the observation period 1978–2020. The classification of the level of avalanche danger was carried out in accordance with an international five-point scale. In the cold period from November to May, the second "yellow" hazard level prevails here – 56% of days. The extreme level of danger was noted only in 0.2% of days. Avalanche incidents with victims mainly occurred at the first and second levels of avalanche danger: 21 and 52% of cases. Material damage to objects was caused during the descent of catastrophic avalanches at the fourth and fifth levels of avalanche danger (43 and 29% of cases, respectively).
Analysis of avalanche incidents allows us to conclude that the majority of avalanche victims are extreme sports enthusiasts who die in provoked avalanches at low levels of avalanche danger. To prevent such accidents, it is necessary, instead of "Storm warnings", to switch to probabilistic forecasts using an international five-point danger scale. At low levels of danger, it is very important to carry out preventive measures among fans of extreme sports – lectures, seminars and training courses.
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