United Nations General Assembly – Human Rights Council, Sep 2015 (emphasis added): The case of Kalachi, known as a “sleeping village”, was brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur. For the past three years, many residents of Kalachi have been experiencing health problems, suffering memory loss and hallucinations and sleeping for days, unable to wake up without medical intervention. According to available statistics, one in four villagers have suffered from this mysterious sickness… Kalachi was a site for uranium mining… According to local residents, the shaft was reopened three years ago and some work was undertaken. The villagers associate the illness with the uranium mining…
Arirang News, Jan 6, 2015: Mysterious sleeping sickness spreads in Kazakhstani village — A mysterious and terrifying epidemic is gripping a small village in rural Kazakhstan. Hundreds of people have been randomly falling asleep… for hours, even days on end… Patients have been falling asleep in the middle of the day, at school, work, or on the street. Some could not be woken up for days, some even for a whole week. When they wake up, they suffer from drowsiness, memory loss, and even hallucinations. Doctors say many patients have brain oedema, a state in which excessive fluid causes swelling in the brain… Many believe the condition is linked to steam seeping out of an unused uranium mine in the area.
Arirang News, Jan 7, 2015: Mysterious sleeping sickness spreads in Kazakhstani village… residents say they′re terrified of whether they′ll be able to wake up from this coma-like state.
Tengri News, Jan 17, 2015: The latest wave of strange occurrences started on December 20, 2014… hospitalized with a diagnosis “encephalopathy of unknown etiology.”… The nearest of the mines is 500 meters away from the village… There is another village, just 600 meters away from Kalachi, called Krasnogorsky… Here, residents also started falling asleep… emotions are running so high in Kalachi and Krasnogorsky that even doctors are starting to lose it. One doctor could not hold back her emotions and started to cry. In Krasnogorskaya medical clinic they said that “everyone here is suffering”… The symptoms among patients are becoming worse and recovering is becoming harder. People suffer from hallucinations, visual and auditory. They cry, howl, and even tear their hair out.
Telegraph, Mar 26, 2015: Scientists are baffled by a mysterious illness that has sent hundreds of people into days-long slumbers… Kalachi stands next to… uranium mines… many locals and some scientists suspect the abandoned works have left a disastrous legacy. “Concentrations of radon at that particular place are four or five times normal. And there are uranium ore mines nearby”… Artem Grigoriev, the head of research at the Kazakhstan national nuclear centre’s institute for radiation safety.
Newsweek, Mar 4, 2015: [P]rofessor Leonid Rikhvanov from the Department of Geo-ecology and Geo-chemistry at the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia… believes that the root of the terrifying illness could lie in an old Soviet uranium mine in the nearby area of Krasnogorsk. He suspects that radon gas is being emitted from the mine… “Radon could be operating as a narcotic substance or an anesthetic. Currently, the underground space of the mine is flooded and gases are being squeezed to the surface.”… if his theory, based on the uranium mine, is correct, he believes the disease could spread throughout the district.
RT, Mar 2, 2015: Last month Professor Leonid Rikhvanov, from the Department of Geo-ecology and Geo-chemistry in the city of Tomsk, said that Soviet-era uranium mines could be to blame, with radon gas from the nearby mines seeping to the surface, poisoning local residents… “This gas, which causes toxic effects, pushes a person into a dreamlike state, and the person falls asleep,” Rikhvanov said… Rikhvanov said experts previously failed to detect radon because conventional methods of measuring radiation fail to detect it in the air.
RT, Jun 29, 2015: One thing that the sleep has been blamed on is radiation. There is an old uranium mine near Kalachi… RT’s crew discovered radiation levels 17 times higher than the norm in the mine… A former miner, who had spent several decades working there, thinks the disease is caused by radon gas.
Published: February 25th, 2016 at 11:10 am ET