Urgent Evacuation Ordered in Kurgan, Russia Due to Dam Emergency

Severe flooding in southern Russia and northern Kazakhstan forces mass evacuations as water levels reach critical levels, causing over $428 million in damage.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Urgent Evacuation Ordered in Kurgan, Russia Due to Dam Emergency

Urgent Evacuation Ordered in Kurgan, Russia Due to Dam Emergency

Residents living close to the dam by the Kirovsky Bridge in Kurgan, Russia, are being urged to evacuate immediately due to an unidentified crisis, according to local authorities. Tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes due to heavy flooding in southern Russia and northern Kazakhstan, coinciding with the order for evacuation.

In the neighboring Orenburg region, the Ural River has reached unprecedented levels, prompting the mayor of the city of Orenburg to order a mass evacuation. Over 12,000 houses have been flooded so far, and thousands have already fled the city as the flood level is expected to reach a critical 11.6 meters. President Vladimir Putin has asked the government to form a special commission to deal with the flooding in the Orenburg, Kurgan, and Tyumen regions.

In Kurgan, the increasing water levels on the Tobol River have necessitated the evacuation of the village of Kaminskoye. Officials have warned that the regional capital of Kurgan could also be affected in the coming days as the floodwaters threaten to reach the city. Schools are being converted into temporary shelters to house evacuees.

The severe flooding has been attributed to rapid snowmelt and heavy rains. In the city of Orsk, the partial collapse of a dam on the Ural River led to dramatic flooding of the old town as the Yelshanka River's waters rose rapidly. Local officials anticipate the water levels to continue rising until at least April 9.

Over 10,200 residential buildings and 18,500 residences have been damaged across the Orenburg region. The floods have also hit other parts of Russia, including Siberia and the Volga region, as well as northern Kazakhstan where two people have died and over 72,000 people, including 16,000 children, have been evacuated.

Why this matters: The widespread flooding in Russia and Kazakhstan has caused significant damage and displaced tens of thousands of people. The urgent evacuation in Kurgan highlights the severity of the situation and the potential for further flooding in the coming days.

As the floodwaters continue to rise, authorities are working to reinforce dams and provide shelter for evacuees. "The situation is most dire in the city of Orenburg, where the water level in the Ural River reached a historical peak of 10.87 meters," reported officials. The overall damage is estimated to exceed 40 billion rubles ($428 million) in the Orenburg region alone, with flooding also affecting the Tomsk region in southwestern Siberia.

Key Takeaways

  • Urgent evacuation ordered in Kurgan, Russia due to undisclosed crisis at dam.
  • Unprecedented flooding in Orenburg, Russia forces mass evacuation of over 12,000 homes.
  • Kurgan city threatened as Tobol River water levels rise, schools converted to shelters.
  • Flooding attributed to rapid snowmelt and heavy rains, over 10,200 buildings damaged.
  • Estimated $428 million in damages in Orenburg region, flooding also hits Kazakhstan.