Thousands of people at risk as floods hit Russia’s south

By Thomson Reuters Apr 8, 2024 | 11:55 PM

(Reuters) – Floods are threatening Russia’s southern Kurgan region, putting more than 19,000 people’s lives at risk, the state news agency said on Tuesday, days after unprecedented flooding displaced thousands of people and inundated a city in the Ural region.

Citing the local branch of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, TASS news agency reported that at least 4,000 homes could also be affected. Emergency measures were put in place in the region, it added.

Some of the worst floods in decades have hit a string of Russian regions in the Ural Mountains and Siberia, alongside parts of neighbouring Kazakhstan in recent days, after Europe’s third-longest river burst through a dam.

In the city of Orsk in the Orenburg region, angry residents asked President Vladimir Putin for help, complaining that their local officials had not done enough to help with the worst flooding on record.

The head of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Alexander Kurenkov, flew to the region on Tuesday to monitor the situation after being tasked to do so by Putin, the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.

Kurenkov will also visit the Kurgan and Tyumen regions in the Urals, the ministry added.

“Preventive measures are already being taken there, rescue teams have been strengthened, and the forces and means of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations have been put on high alert,” the ministry said.

The Ural River, which rises in the Ural Mountains and flows into the Caspian Sea, swelled several metres in just hours on Friday due to melt water, bursting through a dam embankment in the city of Orsk, 1,800 km (1,100 miles) east of Moscow.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Lisbon; editing by Miral Fahmy)