Wednesday, Oct 16 2019
All Cities
Choose Your City
'That time Barnaul was undoubtedly the most cultural corner of Siberia. I named it Siberian Athens'
Pyotr Tyan-Shanskiy, 1856

Huge flood wave threatens major Russian Far East cities as region is hit by cyclones

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 August 2013

At least 30,000 homes are hit by flooding in Amur region, with Vladimir Putin ordering more emergency aid to stricken people.

The Amur River is expected to rise to its highest-ever 7 metres in coming days, posing major threats to the city of Khabarovsk, as well as Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, also with many more districts. Blagoveschensk is also threatened. Picture: Vitaly Ragulin

A section of the world famous Trans Siberian Railway was closed on Thursday on the route linking capital Moscow with Vladivostok. Flood water washed away some of the stone ballast supporting the track in Amur region after a nearby river reached a 'critical level, said a Russian Railways statement. 

Both Amur and Khabarovsk regions are devastated by record deluges which have caused rivers to break their banks, forcing residents to abandon their homes and threatening disease.

A state of emergency is in force in these two regions along with the Sakha republic (Yakutia), Primorye region, and the Jewish Autonomous region.

The Amur River is expected to rise to its highest-ever 7 metres in coming days, posing major threats to the city of Khabarovsk, as well as Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, also with many more districts. Blagoveschensk is also threatened. In Khabarovsk, the authorities called for residents of Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island - a sedimentary island at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri rivers - to urgently leave and move to the mainland. 

The Chinese part of the island is already submerged and the Russia part is expected to be underwater by early next week.

flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013

Sun Square at the Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island near the city of Khabarovsk, pictured before the flooding and now, and sunk workers' settlement, also at Chinese part of the island. Pictures: Alexander Leonkin

In Amur region, some 14,000 have been evacuated from their water-sodden homes, with the worst yet to come. In the Jewish Autonomous Region, a report said there was a near 10 metre rise in the water level of the Amur, with  44% increase in houses underwater in 24 hours. There are concerns the serious flooding could continue beyond mid-September as the federal and regional authorities seek to grapple with the growing crisis. 

Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and members of the government commission for emergencies were in Blagoveshchensk on Friday. He was due to fly over worst-hit areas.

In other developments, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced 'all medical institutions in emergency areas in the Far East will give free medical aid to people affected by the floods', said his press service. 

More than 100 military doctors, paramedics and nurses are on duty in the flood-affected areas. Eight sanitary groups are monitoring water levels in the Primorye, Khabarovsk and the Amur region. A key problem from the flooding is the hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land submerged by flood water, with Amur, Khabarovsk and Primorye regions all severely hit.

'Crops have been almost submerged by flood waters across the Far East, making it impossible to collect the harvest,' said Viktor Ishayev, Far East development minister and the Russian president's envoy to the Far East. 

'Hayfields, which provide livestock with food, are under flood waters as well. And if people choose to slaughter their cattle, restoring the livestock population to its current level will prove unrealistic. Colossal damage will be caused to the agricultural sector there. I will not give you any estimates at the moment, but it is clear that the extent of damage will be significant as 1.5 million hectares of farmland have been submerged by flood waters in the region'.

flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013

Reports said some 10,168 rescuers and 1,549 machines, including 3,311 workers and 457 pieces of hardware belonging to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry have been assigned to clean up after the flooding.  Pictures: Vitaly Ragulin

On Thursday, President Putin ordered additional assistance to victims from the Emergencies and Defence Ministries. And he instructed Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova to take 'all possible disease control and prevention measures and to provide timely medical aid to the population in the flooded areas'.

In another move, the Kremlin leader ordered Energy Minister Alexander Novak and CEO of the JSC Rushydro hydroelectricity company Yevgeny Dod to fly to Blagoveshchensk. Dod told the president that RusHydro will immediately allocate 100 million roubles for the payment of compensation to the people affected by floods in the Amur Region.

The authorities have had to increase discharges from the Zeye and Bureya hydro dams because of the colossal water flow from heavy rains and cyclonic conditions. Dramatic pictures show the extent of record flooding in the Amur region in the Far East of Russia, with the peak still to strike Russia's extreme east. Rescuers are bracing themselves for peak flooding late this week after several weeks deluged by heavy rain.

Some villages are cut off and now depend on deliveries by plane of bread, water, mail and even pensions.

'Our units are ready for the flood peak. As of today no victims have been reported. I believe it will be so,' said Sergei Didenko, head of the emergency HQ dealing with the crisis. 

As the pictures below show, thousands are living in shelters.

'As a result of heavy rain, more than 100 settlements have found themselves in the flood zone since the end of July, and more than 60 settlements remain in this zone in the Amur region,' said one official. 

flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013


flooding the Far East of Russia, August 2013

Thousands are living in shelters; two images below show the sinking library of the Blagoveschensk State Pedagogical University, pictured by teacher Yury Yarmak. Pictures: Vitaly Ragulin, Yury Yarmak

In danger is the region's largest cattle farm in Novopetrovka village. Water is holding back by the last dam. If it bursts, the village will be divided into three islands, and it will be too late to save the cattle which have not been fed for several days. 

The head of Rodina collective farm, Alexander Silohin, said: 'Four dams were broken, and all this water with mud, clumps and silt came to our settlements. 

'The outbreaks of diseases has begun.'

Didenko added: 'Our plane carried pre-engineering dams from the Federal Agency for State Reserves. They help us prepare settlements for the water rise.

'The Amur region received four kilometres of such dams. Let's see them function. Then we'll ask for additional dams to protect other settlements.'

Reports on Thursday said some 10,168 rescuers and 1,549 machines, including 3,311 workers and 457 pieces of hardware belonging to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry have been assigned to clean up after the flooding. The Russian army has been deployed to assist people in distress from the flooding.

More than 1,000 servicemen and 1,556 units of special hardware struggle against the natural disaster.

Comments (1)

We are sad to read the news of the terrible flooding in Eastern Russia, with the suffering that people experience with homes flooded, cattle lost, harvests destroyed. We read about the medical and emergency and engineering help that is being sent to the region. May God bless and protect the people and restore their homes before winter. You are in our prayers.
Mr. and Mrs. Downing, United States of America
30/08/2019 11:07
0
0
1

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR71.05USD64.35GBP81.90Other...