Orenburg Begins Disinfection Efforts After Severe Flooding Recedes

Severe flooding in Russia's Ural region forces evacuation of over 13,000 residents, highlighting the need for improved flood prevention measures. Authorities investigate the failure of a dam that contributed to the disaster.

María Alejandra Trujillo
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Orenburg Begins Disinfection Efforts After Severe Flooding Recedes

Orenburg Begins Disinfection Efforts After Severe Flooding Recedes

Sergey Salmin, the head of Orenburg, Russia, announced that disinfection measures are underway by Rospotrebnadzor, sanitary services, and city enterprises after flood waters receded from streets, basements, and homes in the city. The severe flooding, caused by heavy snowmelt and rising river levels, forced the evacuation of over 13,000 residents, including more than a quarter of them children.

The Ural River, Europe's third-longest river, swelled to dangerous levels, breaching a dam in the nearby city of Orsk. Mayor Salmin had warned residents in the flood zone to evacuate immediately as the situation was expected to worsen. President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to form a special commission to address the flooding in the Orenburg, Kurgan, and Tyumen regions.

Why this matters: The flooding in the Ural Mountains region was the worst on record, triggered by an increase in air temperatures and active snow melt. The disaster highlights the need for improved flood prevention measures and infrastructure in vulnerable areas.

Authorities cited an increase in air temperatures, active snow melt, and river openings as contributing factors to the severe flooding. More than 6,300 homes in the Orenburg region have been flooded, including about 4,500 in the town of Orsk, which has been the most impacted. The flooding has knocked out power to more than 8,000 homes, and regional authorities have reported four deaths, though none were due to drowning.

Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the construction of the Orsk dam, which failed and contributed to the flooding. The Russian government has mobilized emergency services to cope with the disaster. "The authorities are working to erect dykes to protect high-rise apartment blocks from being flooded," Salmin stated. The flooding is expected to reach its peak on Friday and start subsiding in two days as disinfection and recovery efforts continue in the affected areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Severe flooding in Orenburg, Russia, forced evacuation of over 13,000 residents.
  • Ural River breached a dam, contributing to the flooding, which was the worst on record.
  • Authorities cite increased temperatures, snow melt, and river openings as factors.
  • Over 6,300 homes flooded, 8,000 lost power, and 4 deaths reported, none by drowning.
  • Criminal investigation opened into Orsk dam failure, recovery efforts underway.