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Thousands evacuated after Orsk dam explosion worsened floods in Russia

Thousands evacuated after Orsk dam explosion worsened floods in Russia

Image source, Russian Ministry of Emergencies

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Authorities said 10,000 people were in the flood zone

Thousands have been evacuated from a region of southwestern Russia due to flooding worsened by a dam collapse in the city of Orsk, officials said.

There are heavy earth moving machines at the site trying to support the dam.

Earlier, a state of emergency was declared throughout the entire Orenburg region after water levels in the Ural River rose dangerously due to melting ice.

Officials say 10,000 residents may be in the flood zone and up to 4,000 homes could be submerged.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement that “work in the area of ​​the dam collapse in Orsk continues,” adding that about 440 people and 217 pieces of equipment participated in these efforts.

Russian state media said that more than 700 residents of two of the three Orsk regions had been evacuated, in addition to thousands more in the wider region.

“Citizens of the Leninsky and Sovetsky districts of Orsk are being evacuated to temporary shelters,” the regional prosecutor’s office said in a message.

Emergency officials said three people were found dead after patrolling the flood zone, although their deaths were not believed to be directly related to the flooding.

Orsk Mayor Vasiliy Kosubitsa said the situation was “rapidly deteriorating”, with half of the city's Old Town district submerged, and the remainder likely to soon be cut off from the rest of the city.

Image source, Russian Ministry of Emergencies

Local emergency services said they were working to stop the flooding in Orsk, about 1,800 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

Orsk has a population of about 230,000 people. The displaced are being transported to nearby schools.

Unverified footage on the Telegram messenger app showed water flowing through a breach in an earthen dam.

The region, which includes Orsk, Orenburg, other areas in the Ural Mountains and parts of neighboring Kazakhstan, has been hit by widespread flooding in recent days.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that the floods may be the worst natural disaster the country has witnessed in 80 years.

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