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Bears as well as people are evacuated from the worst floods in 120 years in Eastern Russia

19 August 2013

More than 20,000 residents were moved as rivers burst their banks with forecasts of worsening flooding later this week.

The most serious situation is near Arkhangelovka Village on Tunguska River where water level may rise to ten metres. Work is under way in Khabarovsk on Monday in preparation for a possible flooding of homes and economic facilities, Itar Tass reported. Picture: NTV

Two caged bears from the  Zelyonaya tourist resort near Blagoveshchensk, in Amur Region, were airlifted to safety they were threatened with drowning. Two weeks after their cage was first flooded, they were moved to high ground 800 metres from the resort with a keeper to care for them, reported RIA Novosti.

However, the main focus was on people's safety after dramatic floods caused by heavy rain which has devastated Amur, Khabarovsk and Jewish Autonomous regions. More than 6000 homes have been hit across these regions.  More than 20,000 have been evacuated. Some 140 settlements have suffered from flooding. Other sources said that more than 33,000 live in homes touched by partial flooding. 60 bridges and 200 sections of road are underwater. 

'Over the past 24 hours, water level in the Amur River in the area of Khabarovsk rose by 17 cm, reaching a historical maximum of 657 cm on Monday morning,' reported Itar-Tass. 

A further rise in the water level is expected in the coming days, said an official in the press service of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies (RME) centre for Khabarovsk Territory. By August 25, water levels may reach the 700 cm mark. A flood wave will move along the Amur and reach Nikolayevsk -on-Amur by 9 September, it is forecast.

'The most serious situation is near Arkhangelovka Village on Tunguska River where water level may rise to ten metres. Work is under way in Khabarovsk on Monday in preparation for a possible flooding of homes and economic facilities. A technical group has been set up in the city to build provisional dikes. The riverbank consolidating operations are involving about 30 bulldozers, truck-mounted cranes, excavators, graders, and dumper-trucks'.

Some 30,000 emergency workers have been deployed to tackle the flooding.

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