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Floods in Russia: “critical situation” in Orsk in the Urals

"Critical situation": Russian authorities recognized on Sunday that the floods " Orsk, in the Urals, had worsened in recent hours, two days after the rupture of a dam which, in the midst of melting ice, caused ;eacute;jà trained the evacuation of several thousand inhabitants.

No casualties have been reported at this stage by the Russian authorities.

“A critical situation has developed in the city of Orsk,” said the Russian Minister of Emergency Situations, Alexander Kurenkov, upon his arrival in this industrial city of more than 200,000 inhabitants near the border with Kazakhstan.

Images broadcast by his services on Telegram show him surrounded by rescuers in a small boat navigating on the water, this one reaching the windows of some houses and several businesses. He then went to a temporary accommodation center.

On Friday, the rupture of a dam in Orsk, very close to the border with Kazakhstan, caused a rapid rise in water levels, compounded by significant disturbances and melting ice, a common phenomenon at this time of year in many Russian regions.

The floods could also not be limited to this area: according to Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, floods “are expected” in the regions of Kurgan and Tyumen, in western Siberia, “in the coming days” .

– “Federal emergency” –

In Orsk, more than 4,500 houses were flooded and more than 4,000 people already evacuated to temporary accommodation centers, according to Mr. Kourenkov.

The authorities have classified the disaster as a “federal emergency”, thus making it possible to release funds special. Reinforcements also arrived on site to help the specialists already at work.

More than 800 people were also evacuated in the neighboring region of Samara, also affected by flooding.

In Orenburg, “we must stabilize the situation and begin to restore damaged infrastructure. All forces have been mobilized,” assured Governor Denis Pasler.

Videos posted on social media showed many homes under brown water, and elderly people in particular being helped by rescuers dressed in orange life jackets.

According to a first estimate from the Ministry of Construction, the cost of damage caused to homes could reach “more than 21 billion rubles”, or around 2.1 billion euros at the current rate

< p>Faced with the situation, the regional authorities have already announced that the city's schools will teach “remotely”.

Earlier on Sunday, the services of the regional governor, Denis Pasler, warned that “heavy rainfall” was expected in the coming hours, which could further “complicate” the task of rescuers.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, in total, more than 60 localities are threatened by rising waters.

– Melting snow –

According to regional authorities, the dam in Orsk, which partially failed two days ago, is designed for a level of the Urals, the great river of the region, 5.5 m, compared to more than 9 meters currently thanks to the melting snow.

The mayor of Orenburg, a large city located further west and crossed by the Ural River, also sounded the alarm.

“The situation remains critical. The water is arriving and, in the days to come, its level will only increase”, wrote Sergei Salmin on Telegram, specifying also that the 'Ural had risen by 28 centimeters the day before.

The manager warned the population that in the event of a power outage at home, residents should leave their homes “immediately”. domicile.

In the city, where 400 houses have already been flooded according to regional authorities, the “peak” of the flood is expected on Wednesday, according to a representative of the federal meteorological agency, cited by the state news agency TASS.

These major floods also affect neighboring Kazakhstan, where Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokaïev deplored on Saturday “a natural disaster”, “perhaps the greatest, in terms of scale and consequences, over the last 80 years”.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116