Russia: Government declares federal emergency over floods as dam bursts in Orsk

Over 6,000 homes were flooded

Russia floods orsk In this grab taken from a video released by the Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service on Sunday, a view of the flooded street after part of a dam burst, in Orsk, Russia | AP

In the wake of the flood situation, Russia declared a federal emergency in the Orenburg region on Sunday. The floods forced over 4,000 people, including 885 children, to evacuate. The rising water levels in the Ural River broke a dam near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan, forcing people to flee. 

According to Russian news agency, Tass, around 6,300 homes were flooded in the region. One of the worst affected cities include Orsk, where rescue operations are still ongoing. Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Kurenkov arrived in the region and assessed the rescue efforts. 

I propose classifying the situation in the Orenburg region as a federal emergency and establishing a federal level of response, the minister said, according to RIA Novosti.

Orsk, less than 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) north of the border with Kazakhstan, was hit with floods which caused a dam to break on Friday, according to Orsk mayor Vasily Kozupitsa. By Sunday morning, 4,500 residential buildings in the city of 200,000 were flooded and evacuation efforts were still ongoing, Tass said.

Meanwhile, a criminal probe was launched to investigate the suspected construction violations that may have caused the dam to collapse. 

The situation in the city was getting worse, as water levels increased by 28 centimetres (11.02 inches) compared to Saturday, officials wrote on Telegram. Over 1,300 homes flooded and 428 people evacuated, they said.

Footage from Orsk and Orenburg showed water covering the streets dotted with one-story houses.

The Ural River, about 2,428 kilometres- (1,509 miles) long, flows from the southern section of the Urals into the north end of the Caspian Sea, through Russia and Kazakhstan.

President Vladimir Putin accessed the situation with the governors of both regions over the phone. 


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