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City of Khabarovsk faces evacuation of tens of thousands if Amur River keeps rising

By The Siberian Times reporter
21 August 2013

The second largest city of the Russian Far East faces nervous hours and days to see if its dikes hold back the deluge.

Special flood pumping units are working day and night to save low-lying areas of the city, and 10km of special dikes have been erected. Picture: forum.amur.info

If the Amur swells to 780 centimetres, the damage could devastate the city. Mayor ALexander Sokolov said: 'There come times in which we must understand that without evacuation we cannot cope. 'It will be exactly the case.'

There were denials of international news agency reports that 25,000 have already abandoned their homes, but at least 10,000 places in emergency accommodation have been prepared. 

The Trans Siberian Railway has maintained its service through Khabarovsk - a key stop on the Moscow-Vladivostok route. 

Special flood pumping units are working day and night to save low-lying areas of the city, and 10km of special dikes have been erected. 

'We have determined five areas which can be flooded,' said the mayor. 'These are the areas where multi-family houses with over 2,500 people are located.'

He warned: 'Today the water level in the Amur River near Khabarovsk was of 695 centimetres. 

'The water can rise within the 48 hours. A total of 297 houses have been flooded. At least 250 people have been evacuated from the settlement of Ussuriysky. Temporary centres are being prepared to accommodate 10,000 people'.

Already some 300 buildings are damaged in the city. 

flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia


flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia


flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia


flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia

Aerial pictures of villages of Ust'-Ivanovka and Vladimirovka. Pictures: forum.amur.info

Special financial aid is going to the most needy - pensioners, the disabled, and families with many children. There is concern over the village of Krasnaya Rechka. 'The evacuation of people was announced two days ago. But only 11 people out of 271 people have left the area,' said Sokolov.

Some 2,000 children from the worst-hit areas are being taken to summer camps in Primorsky Territory. Contingency plans say as many as 100,000 people could be evacuated in a worst-case scenario across the Far East of Russia in the worst flooding in 120 years.

So far, 22,000 people, including 7,000 children, are in temporary accommodation centres. Some 27,000 local residents have had their homes flooded in worst-hit Amur region, the Jewish autonomous region and the Khabarovsk region.

On Tuesday, the presidential envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District Viktor Ishayev said: 'The Amur region alone needs 5.5 billion roubles to rebuild houses, relocate people, build some structures or issue certificates entitling the owners to new housing'.

According to the envoy, 737 houses in the region are beyond repair. Officials denied any threat to the oil refinery plant in Khabarovsk. Neighbouring China has suffered far more in the rains. Nearly 200 are reported dead, with the same number missing, with 1.8 million displaced from the flooding.

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