Disaster of federal scale hits Russia's Orenburg region as over 10,000 houses flooded

Floodwaters affect over 6,000 in Russia's Orenburg region

On April 5, in Orsk, the Orenburg region of Russia, a dam burst on the Ural River due to a sharp rise in water levels. An evacuation was announced in the city, all emergency services provide all possible assistance to local residents.

Orsk flooding

Many areas of the city were flooded. Other cities were also under the threat of flooding; by the evening of April 7, the water level in the Ural River in the Orenburg region rose to 864 cm, with 66 cm remaining to the critical level.

The situation remains critical, the water level is only expected to continue rising in the coming days, the head of Orenburg Sergei Salmin said in his Telegram channel. He warned of power outages in areas affected by flooding in the floodplains of the Urals and Sakmara, and called for immediate evacuation.

On April 4, a state of emergency was introduced in the Orenburg region due to flooding. The next day, the dam burst in Orsk, and the authorities started evacuating people to temporary accommodation centres. On the evening of April 6, new dam bursts were reported in areas of Borisoglebskaya Street and the Nikel village in Orsk. An urgent evacuation was announced. The government of the Orenburg region reported that 12 temporary accommodation centres were arranged in Orsk, and if necessary, their number would be increased.

On April 7, the government commission for the prevention and elimination of emergencies decided to classify the flood in the region as a federal emergency. The head of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Alexander Kurenkov, went to the region where he made the relevant announcement. The same day, the head of Orsk, Vasily Kozupitsa, warned that the Elshanka River in Orsk was bursting its banks too, which would require the evacuation of residents from more areas.

The hydrological situation in the territory remains highly complicated and it may become catastrophic as meteorologists predict heavy rains in the Orenburg region.

The city of Orsk suffered most in the disaster, but flood waters affected other cities as well, including Orenburg. According to most recent reports from the regional administration:

  • 10,168 residential buildings and
  • 18,471 households were flooded in the region;
  • 6,127 local residents were evacuated.
  • 47 bridges were closed to traffic (traffic on federal highways is carried out without restrictions).

According to operational estimates, the disaster is expected to result in about 21 billion rubles of damage.

Floodwaters are to reach dangerous levels on April 8, with a peak expected on April 10. The situation in the region is expected to stabilise only after April 20.

Residents of the Orenburg region will be exempt from paying utility bills, Governor Denis Pasler said. Those who had their houses flooded will be able to receive credit holidays. Additional deliveries of food and water supplies were organised to stores in Orenburg and Orsk directly from manufacturers and distribution centres of federal networks. Humanitarian aid — more than 240 tons — was also received.

On April 6, Governor Pasler announced that payments to flood victims would be doubled from the level that was originally planned when a regional emergency regime was introduced.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov