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EXCLUSIVE - Mysterious Kazakh 'village of the damned' where children with 'Sleepy Hollow' disease, have fits, blurred vision, stomach cramps and fall asleep for DAYS

  • Children are suffering from mystery illness in Kazakh village of Berezovka
  • They complained of having dizziness, numb limbs, fits, cramps, nausea
  • Parents say children fall off their chairs in school and stay asleep for days
  • They say they have been poisoned by toxic emissions from power station
  • But owners Shell and its foreign partners and government deny allegations
  • 1,500 residents moved 15 miles away to Aksai – but still get the symptom

A Kazakh village of 1,500 people is being abandoned after children were struck down by a mystery illness which led them to fall asleep for days.

Dozens of school children struck down by the bizarre 'Sleepy Hollow' disease have fallen off seats in class, have tummy cramps, convulsions, lose feeling in their limbs, dizziness and blurred eyesight.

A father whose little boy was struck down by the strange symptoms told MailOnline: 'Every day my son goes to school and by 11 am, the teachers call me to take him home because he became ill again.'

Those living in the village of Berezovka, western Kazakhstan have been evacuated to the village of Aksai, around 15 miles away - but still suffer from dizziness and fall asleep for up to a week at a time.
Parents in Berezovka blame the symptoms on toxic emissions being emitted from the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating power station run by energy giant Shell.

Bizarre: 1,500 people had to be evacuated from a Kazakh village after dozens of children (pictured) began mysteriously passing out

Mystery: Children in the village of Berezovka (pictured) had to be rushed to hospital after passing out and falling of their seats in class

Illness: Other children (pictured) suffered painful convulsions and cramps lost all feeling in their limbs and felt their eyesight getting worse

They say the symptoms began in November 2014 when 90 people fell ill after there was a 'loud noise' at the site and black smoke coming from one of the buildings.

The power station says the noise in November 18 months ago was from excess gas being burned off at the plant and denies causing the symptoms.

Young victims of the mystery illness have passed out at school during classes over the past 18 months.
Alia Kusmangalieva, whose 14-year-old daughter Alina collapsed at school, told MailOnline: 'We got a call from the school and was told that Alina felt unwell.

'We were waiting for an ambulance for an hour and a half. All this time my daughter was unconscious. She did not wake up until she got an oxygen mask.'

Tiek Temirgaliev, the father of 12-year-old Termilan, who also kept fainting, said: 'Previously, he had convulsions.

'After treatment in Aktobe [a nearby town] the convulsions stopped, but his vision deteriorated.

Blame: Deputy Prime Minister Saparbayev has blamed the children's (pictured) illnesses on a faulty chimney and hot water plant at the local school

Hospitalised: The Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (KPO) facility and its parent company, Shell, have denied the plant is behind the illnesses local children (pictured) are suffering

Unconscious: This young girl is one of more than 100 to be struck down with the illness since November 2014

'Now, my boy suffers sharp pressure drops, sometimes his legs become numb and he cannot speak. Also, my son had pains in the chest, but not often.'
Oksana Nazbayeva, whose 12-year-old daughter Ruzanna suffered the same symptoms, added: 'Teachers say that Ruzanna will be sitting in class and then suddenly fall off her chair.

'She could be walking down the hall and collapse. My daughter was treated at the clinic in Aktobe. They cured convulsions - but now it has all started again.'
Parents have accused owners Kusmangalievaly owned by Reading based BG Group, a subsidiary of Shell - and the Kazakhstan government of covering up the 2014 incident, which they claim is the source of the illness.
Activists 'Crude Responsibility' claim there was an attempt to protect the reputations of the foreign partners working at one of the world's largest oil and gas fields.
It said: 'Almost 50 per cent of the villagers are chronically ill and 80 per cent of the children suffer from respiratory diseases.'
Dangerous chemicals, including hydrogen sulfide which is very poisonous, in Berezovka's air, independent monitors found.

Anger: Parents are blaming their children's illnesses on the toxic emissions from a local oil and gas factory

Emergency: Several children (pictured) had to be collected by their parents or rushed to hospital after passing out in class

Struck down: Parents have accused the KPO - which is owned by Shell - of covering up what they believe was an 'emergency' at the factory (pictured, children who fell ill from mystery illness)

Endemic: US based campaigners claimed around '50 per cent of the villagers are chronically ill and 80 per cent of the children suffer from respiratory diseases'

Victim: Dinara Irmikbaeva (pictured), 17, was treated at four different hospitals after suddenly fainting in school

But when officials inspected pollution levels they found them to be safe.
The country's Deputy Prime Minister Saparbayev blamed it on a faulty chimney and hot water plant at the local school.

Saparbayev said: 'Our specialists, and psychologists have been working there. No excess of harmful substances was found in the atmosphere.

The government said everyone from the village will be rehoused by the end of the year.

So far more than 1,500 people have been moved - which will increase to 1,808 from 423 families by 2017.
But attempts by parents who demanded that the village's children be sent abroad for medical checks have been rejected.

Concerns expressed by residents about an unhealthy environment since 2002 also fell on deaf ears.
After the first few people fainted in 2014, KPO said 'if there are lessons we need to learn from the results we will wholeheartedly apply these to our activities'.

Unexplained: Many locals and young children have already been relocated to the village of Aksai, around 15 miles away, but continue to suffer from attacks of dizziness and unconsciousness there too

It also said that an incident in November 2014 did not involve 'a release, emission or leak of gas, including hydrogen sulphide, in excess of permitted levels'.

The BG Group claimed there was 'no evidence that the emissions from KPO's operations were the cause of the illnesses'.

KPO had provided 'transport to medical treatment centres for patients', the British company added.

In a statement, KPO said: 'We welcome the outcome of the independent investigation that show there is no evidence that the emissions from KPO's operations were the cause of the illnesses which affect people in the village of Berezovka.

'Moreover, KPO supports the resolution that, as part of the possible further development of Karachaganak, in accordance with RoK [Kazakhstan] legislation the Sanitary Protection Zone might require further reassessment.
'KPO looks forward to contributing to this work and will comply with all regulatory requirements.

The bizarre goings on in Berezovka have been compared to those in Kalachi, another Kazakh village dubbed 'Sleepy Hollow', where locals began inexplicably falling asleep for days at a time.
That phenomenon was put down to toxic gases seeping to the surface from a disused Soviet era uranium mine.

Toxic: Independent monitors were reported to have found dangerous chemicals including hydrogen sulfide, which is very poisonous, in Berezovka's air

Safe: But officials claimed the village was outside the 'hazardous zone' of toxic emissions which included hydrogen sulfide and 20 other poisonous substances

Sleepy Hollow: The bizarre goings on in Berezovka (pictured) have been compared to those in Kalachi, another Kazakh village dubbed 'Sleepy Hollow', where locals began inexplicably falling asleep for days at a time

As well as suddenly dozing off, sometimes for days at a time, residents also complained of strange hallucinations.
One girl imagined she saw an elephant's trunk on her mother, and a boy said saw horses and light bulbs flying around him.

As in Berezovka, all villagers in Kalachi are being relocated to other areas. Last year, Saparbayev said detailed tests showed a disused Soviet uranium mine was behind the strange phenomenon.


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