More Homes Inundated as Russia’s Orenburg Braces for Two-Day Flood Peak

Scores of homes and properties in the southern Russian city of Orenburg were submerged underwater on Friday as authorities warned that water levels in the nearby Ural River would remain “critical” over the weekend before gradually receding early next week.

The Ural River, the third-longest in Europe, reached 11.29 meters in Orenburg, or two meters above its critical level, according to deputy mayor Alexei Kudinov. In some parts of the city, which has a population of 550,000 people, only the roofs of houses could be seen rising above the flood waters. 

“Orenburg’s meteorological center forecasts that the peak of the flood is expected today, April 12, followed by two days of stability, after which the water level will decrease,” Kudinov told reporters. Local authorities warned of power outages in the most affected areas until the water recedes.

Almost 12,000 homes and 15,000 land plots were flooded across the Orenburg region, its governor Denis Pasler told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening. Kudinov said more than 2,500 homes and nearly 5,000 land plots were flooded in the city of Orenburg as of early Friday.

Several villages have also been evacuated in the Kurgan and Tomsk regions further to the east.

Meanwhile, in Western Siberia, the Ishim River has also risen to dangerous levels, according to authorities in the Tyumen region. Officials predict that the Ishim and Tobol rivers will reach peak levels only around April 23-25.

Overall, Russia estimates that 10,500 homes have been flooded across 37 regions.

Fast-rising temperatures have melted snow and ice, and along with heavy rains have caused a number of major rivers that stretch across Russia and northern Kazakhstan to overflow. Around 120,000 people in both countries have been forced to evacuate their homes.

No direct link has been made between the floods and climate change, but experts say rising temperatures across the planet cause rapid snowmelt and heavy rains that lead to unprecedented flooding.

AFP contributed reporting.


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