Russia evacuates 4,000 people after dam breaks near Kazakhstan border

Three people have been killed following the flooding after an embankment dam broke in the southern region of Orenburg, near Kazakhstan, CNN reported citing Russian news agency, TASS on Saturday.

In this grab taken from a video released by the Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service on Saturday, April 6, 2024, emergency workers evacuate a local resident after a part of a dam burst causing flooding, in Orsk, Russia. Floods hit a city in the Ural Mountains areas after a river dam burst there, prompting evacuations of hundreds of people, local authorities said. (AP)

Thousands of Russians have been evacuated as the dam in the city of Orsk could not contain the flow of water from the Ural River and broke in two places, local authorities told TASS.

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Authorities have reported that 4,208 people in the region have been evacuated, including 1,019 children, and 495 temporary accommodation centers for 82,200 people are being prepared, according to TASS.

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As of Saturday morning, the level of the Ural river was nearly double the level the dam was designed to handle, according to regional authorities.

The dam failure occurred because the hydraulic structure was not properly maintained, and a criminal investigation has been opened, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

The dam was protecting the city from the waters of the Ural river. By Saturday morning, the water had reached several districts of the city, flooding nearly 2,400 residential buildings, TASS reported.

“A state of emergency is in effect in Orenburg,” the head of the Orenburg region Sergey Salmin said in a Telegram post Saturday.

“This situation leaves us no choice; overnight the [river] level may reach a critical level. I demand that everyone immediately leave their houses in the flood zone.”

“Those who refuse to leave the danger zone voluntarily will be evacuated forcibly, with the participation of police officers,” he added, CNN reported.

Orsk, a city of 230,000 people, lies near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan.

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