Water levels rise and homes flood in Russia following collapse of dam

10 April 2024, 12:54

Flooding in the Orenburg region of Russia
Russia Floods. Picture: PA

Russia’s government has declared the situation a federal emergency.

Russian officials have scrambled to help homeowners displaced by floods as water levels rose in the Ural River.

Floods in the Orenburg region near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan sparked the evacuation of thousands of people following the collapse of a dam on Saturday.

Russia’s government has declared the situation a federal emergency.

Although President Vladimir Putin is frequently shown on Russian state television meeting officials and travelling across the country, the Kremlin said he is not yet planning to visit the flood-hit region.

A man pushes an inflatable boat in a flooded area in Orenburg, Russia
A man pushes an inflatable boat in a flooded area in Orenburg, Russia (AP)

The river’s water level in the city of Orenburg was above 10 metres on Wednesday, state news agency Ria Novosti reported, citing the regional governor.

Photos shared by Russian news outlets showed roads covered in water, submerged fields and partially submerged houses.

The water was approaching high-rise buildings, Ria Novosti said, and more than 300 homes were flooded overnight, according to state news agency Tass.

People in the city of Orsk gathered in a rare protest on Monday, calling for compensation after their homes were damaged.

Protests are unusual in Russia, where authorities have consistently cracked down on any form of dissent following Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rescuers use a boat in a flooded area of Orenburg, Russia
Rescuers use a boat in a flooded area of Orenburg, Russia (AP)

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the administrative building in Orsk, and videos posted on Russian social media showed people chanting “Putin, help us” and “shame”.

Other videos on social media showed angry Russians refusing to leave the areas near their homes because they said thieves were looting abandoned houses with boats.

The floods prompted the Orsk oil refinery to suspend operations, Interfax said.

The floods had forced more than 4,000 people, including 885 children, to evacuate in the Orenburg region, the regional government said on Sunday.

Tass said on Monday that around 10,000 homes, including some 7,000 in Orsk, were flooded.

Following the protest, Tass reported that the governor of the Orenburg region, Denis Pasler, promised compensation payments to those affected.

The Ural River flows from the southern section of the Ural Mountains into the north end of the Caspian Sea, through Russia and Kazakhstan.

By Press Association

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