Rivers in Russia & Kazakhstan See Worst Flooding in Nearly a Century


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Major rivers in Russia and Kazakhstan have risen above their embankments, causing more than 120,000 people to have to flee their homes in the worst flooding in some areas in almost a century.

Residents along the 1,509-mile Ural River, which flows through Russia and Kazakhstan, were forced to evacuate by its fast-rising waters, reported Reuters.

Orenburg, a Russian city of about 550,000, was one of the hardest hit.

“It came very quickly at night,” 71-year-old Taisiya told Reuters in the city about 900 miles southeast of Moscow. “By the time I got ready, I couldn’t get out.”

Entire areas of Orenburg were submerged as snowmelt caused the Ural to swell to a level much higher than what was deemed safe by authorities.

The flooding “might be the biggest disaster in terms of its scale and impact in more than 80 years,” said President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as CNN reported.

In Orenburg, the local government said the flooding caused the evacuation of more than 7,700 people from almost 13,000 residential buildings.

The city’s water levels rose to approximately 33 feet, the mayor said, higher than the critical level of 30.5 feet.

Flooding in the region looked to be far from over.

“The forecast is unfavorable. The water level continues to rise in flood-affected areas,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, according to CNN.

Earlier this week, Orsk, a city downstream from Orenburg, was inundated when a dam embankment burst, reported BBC News.

Springtime flooding is common in Russia, but the scale of the event was rare.

The worst of the flooding hit northern Kazakhstan and the Russian Ural Mountains. Waters also rose in the southern portions of Western Siberia, as well as some areas near Europe’s largest river, the Volga, Reuters reported.

According to Kazakhstan’s ministry of emergency situations, emergency crews had removed 310 million cubic feet of floodwaters.

Emergency workers said the extreme flooding was caused by a combination of waterlogged soils, extensive snowpack, rapidly warming temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Residents of flooded regions have asked the president for assistance, while social media posts showed protestors outside Orsk city hall yelling, “Shame! Shame!” reported CNN.

In other footage, demonstrators criticized the Mayor of Orsk, Vasily Kozupitsa.

“We feed emergency ministry workers with pies and dumplings and bring them thermoses… Kozupitsa cannot even provide for emergency workers. Shame!” said one woman, as CNN reported.

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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