Major floods in Russia and Kazakhstan: evacuations continue: News

Major floods in Russia and Kazakhstan: evacuations continue: News

Evacuations continue today, Saturday, in the Russian Ural Mountains, which were hit by major floods that are also sweeping neighboring Kazakhstan, where more than 100,000 people have been evacuated, with no relief in sight as water levels continue to rise.

These floods are caused by heavy rains associated with rising temperatures, increased snowmelt, and disintegration of winter ice covering rivers and streams.

In Orenburg, one of the worst-hit cities in the Russian region of the same name bordering Kazakhstan, the waters of the Ural River partially submerged some roads and flowed into residential areas, turning neighborhoods into puddles.

On Saturday afternoon, the river level approached 12 metres, according to local authorities. This is well above the threshold considered critical, and represents a further increase of about half a meter compared to the previous day. The Ural Mountains flow through central Orenburg.

“Until now, the situation remains complex,” the region’s governor, Denis Basler, said on Saturday evening. “Currently in Orenburg, floods have reached their maximum levels.”

Nearly 14,000 people have already been evacuated from Orenburg and surrounding areas, and more than 11,000 homes have been flooded, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Rescue workers and law enforcement continued to help residents leave their homes on Saturday.

“The most important thing is that (the house) was not looted. That's what worries me. Apart from that, everything is fine! We will survive!”, emphasized Valery, an optimist, in his 60s, who had just been evacuated.

Eldar Rakhmetov, an official at the Ministry of Emergency Situations, said he had noticed “an increase in the number of flooded homes since this morning, and more evacuations are being organised.”

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– 'Treacherous waters' –

To the east, the Kurgan region is likely to be inundated in the coming days. The Tobol River continues to rise rapidly and more than 6,000 people have already been evacuated, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Governor Vadim Chumkov called on residents of the affected areas to leave their homes “preventively” without waiting for the water to rise further.

“The water is treacherous, and with such mass, its height is unpredictable,” he warned on Telegram.

He later wrote: “Citizens of Kurgan, you must evacuate urgently!”

Citing authorities' forecasts, he stressed that a “sharp rise” in water levels is expected in the coming days, indicating a “difficult situation.”

In Kazakhstan, which shares a border of about 7,500 kilometers with Russia, water reached the outskirts of the city of Petropavlovsk, the capital of the North Kazakh region (220,000 people), which is partially deprived of electricity and potable water.

In total, more than 102,000 people have been evacuated in the vast Central Asian country, including a third of children, with nearly 4,000 homes already submerged and 73 local areas cut off from the world, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

While the degree of climate change's impact has not yet been determined, scientists have already proven that global warming favors extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall that causes floods.

The demonstrations, rare in Russia due to the force of repression, broke out on Monday in Orsk, Orenburg region, where residents protested against local authorities' management of the crisis.

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Despite these protests and the seriousness of the situation, no travel by President Vladimir Putin to these areas has yet been announced.

Published April 13 at 7:23 p.m., AFP

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