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Thousands flee flooding in southern Russia

GreenWatch Desk Flood 2024-04-13, 11:48pm


Russian emergency services onSaturday said they had evacuated thousands of people from the southern regionsbordering Kazakhstan as flood water continued to rise.

Fast-rising temperatures have melted snow and ice, and along with heavyrain have caused a number of major rivers that pass through Russia andKazakhstan to overflow this month.
In the city of Orenburg, one of the worst affected areas in Russia, theUral River has breached its banks, submerging streets and residential areas andwater levels continued to rise Saturday, reports BSS.
On Saturday afternoon, the river level reached almost 12 metres (39 feet),more than 2.5 metres above the level considered critical.
Regional governor Denis Pasler said in a press release Sunday evening that"as of today the situation remains complex. In Orenburg the flood is at themaximum peak."
The Ural River flows through the centre of Orenburg.
Flood water covered the embankment promenade and swirled around houses andan high-rise apartment blocks built close to the river, an AFP journalist saw.
More than 13,000 people have been evacuated from Orenburg and thesurrounding region and more than 11,000 homes have been flooded, according tothe emergency situations ministry.
Eldar Rakhmetov, a ministry official involved in the evacuation, told AFPthat in Orenburg "there has been an increase in the number of homes floodedsince this morning and more areas are being evacuated."
Local residents were using rubber dinghies to try to retrieve pets andbelongings from flooded houses and some areas were left without power.
Valery, 64, a local factory worker, was one of those evacuated Saturday bya police truck.
"The most important thing is that (my house) does not get looted. That iswhat I am worried about. Other than that, it is fine! We will survive," he said.
- 'Evacuate urgently!' -
The emergency situations ministry said that in the Kurgan region furthereast, the level of the Tobol River was continuing to rise steeply and more than6,000 people had been evacuated.
The governor, Vadim Shumkov, urged residents likely to be affected to leavenow.
"The water is treacherous and when there is so much of it, it risesunpredictably," Shumkov warned on Telegram, urging people to leave withvaluables and pets.
"My fellow Kurgan people, you must evacuate urgently. Urgently!" thegovernor posted later.
In Kazakhstan, which shares around 7,500 kilometres (4,660 miles) of borderwith Russia, flooding has reached the outskirts of the northern city ofPetropavlovsk, which has around 220,000 residents, causing problems with powerand mains water supply.
More than 102,000 people, many of them children, have been evacuated in thevast Central Asian country, where almost 4,000 homes are still flooded,according to the emergency situations ministry.
Climate change due to global warming is associated with more frequentextreme weather events such as floods.
In the Russian city of Orsk in the Orenburg region, where a dam protectingthe city from flooding broke this month, residents held rare protests this weekover the local authorities' handling of the crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the floods on Thursdaybut has not visited the affected regions.