In The town of Orsk with a population of 189,000 near Russia's border with Kazakhstan in the southern foothills of the Ural Mountains has thousands of houses under water. The dam, which was supposed to secure the banks of the Ural River and protect the roads, has been broken in several places since Friday evening. A few hours earlier, the city government had announced that it was evacuating the civilian population to safety “due to the impending dam failure”. According to official information, thousands of residents have left their homes. The pictures showed people in boats, some with few things, and cats and dogs. At least one cemetery and several schools in the city were also under water.

According to the Kommersant newspaper, a record amount of water flowed out of the reservoir located upstream of Orsk due to flooding – up to 2,170 cubic meters per second on Friday. However, the mayor of Orsk, Vassili Kosunza, confirmed on Thursday that the dam is designed for a water volume of more than 2,500 cubic meters per second and must withstand the load. The commission of inquiry started proceedings against the ten-year-old dam for negligence in violation of safety requirements.

According to the administration of the Orenburg region, where Orsk is located, it is designed or designed for a water level of five and a half meters of the Ural River; The actual level on Monday morning was almost twice as high in Orsk, namely 9.63 meters, although the trend has been decreasing since Sunday. The authorities expect that the water will not flow out of Orsk again for one and a half to two weeks.


People also had to be evacuated in several places downstream, including the city of Novotroitsk, near Orsk, with a population of 75,000. Flood-related evacuations also began in Orenburg, 250 kilometers west and downstream from Orsk, the regional capital of more than half a million people. The Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that the tsunami will reach Orenburg by April 17. But on Monday afternoon, the city said the water level was now at 8.93 meters and continuing to rise, with the threat level at 9.30 metres.

“Unprecedented” location

Mayor Sergei Salmin said the situation is unprecedented and the Ural River last reached such a level around the middle of the last century. “Absolutely everyone who is in the flood zone must leave their homes,” Mayor Salmin insisted. “Don't delay the evacuation! The situation will only get worse over the next two days.

According to the Ministry of Defense, soldiers also helped to work in the flooded area. Since the end of last week, the entire region has been under a state of emergency. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the formation of a government commission to investigate the flood situation, as always happens in such cases. “Unfortunately, nature has caused a lot of inconvenience to citizens,” Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. He praised the fact that the victims were enduring “events with extreme stoicism”. According to Peskov, now is not the right time to evaluate the actions of the Minister of Emergency Situations or the regional governor. Putin has sent Minister Alexander Kurenkov to the region, but has not yet planned a trip there himself. “He keeps his finger on the pulse,” the spokesperson confirmed.

The situation is worst in the Orenburg region, but according to Moscow's Emergencies Ministry, there are now 39 flooded areas in Russia, including the annexed areas of Ukraine. It talks about “active snowmelt” due to higher temperatures. Flooding is especially likely in the Kurgan and Tyumen regions. “I urge citizens to take flood forecasts seriously and leave before the water arrives,” Kurenkow said. “You can spontaneously move in with relatives or in emergency accommodation.” They are set up in gyms, among other places. According to Russian state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent Putin his “deep condolences” over the flood damage in a telegram.

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