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Siege humour as locals rename their flooded city Komsomolsk-in-Amur with worst still to come

By The Siberian Times reporter
05 September 2013

Emergencies minister Vladimir Puchkov vows: 'We will defend both the city and the factories'.

Aerial view of Khabarovsk. Picture: DVhab.ru

Our pictures show the devastation in waterlogged Russian Far East cities Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk, which both face further rises in water levels in the coming days as the peak of the crisis approaches. 

'The minister will oversee work [to deal with the flood consequences] in Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he will also meet with local residents, in the Jewish Autonomous Region and the Amur Region,' said spokeswoman Irina Rossius.

The immediate concern is over Komsomolsk-on-Amur, with the Emergiencies Ministry and Russian Army seeking to save the city of 260,000 people.

The water is now at 8.5 metres, the highest level ever known, and several districts are being evacuated.

'I want to assure you that we will defend both the city and the factories,' said Puchkov.

Fear among residents comes not just from the threat of water but a breakdown in power services, and shortages of essentials. 

'People buy gas burners, tanks, generators - such goods in the city are almost gone. And buying food - canned meat, salt, sugar, water, and matches and candles. Shops are half empty', said one.

flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia


flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia


flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia

Aerial views of Khabarovsk. Picture: DVhab.ru

Volunteers have joined emergency workers to prevent a failure of the flood defences at Lake Mylka, connected to the Amur River. 

'The city authorities called for help entrepreneurs and citizens. On all entrances  are pasted up ads on the recruitment of volunteers and factories emit workers to be sent to the dam,' reported gazeta.ru 

'From our factory every day 70-100 people go to help build the dam, and all employees from the oil refinery are now on the bank,' said a resident of the city.

'On Wednesday, the administration of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, appealed to citizens asking to take to their apartments families with young children. Apparently, in the evacuation centres there are no conditions for the kids,' added the website.

A deep river has formed on the only highway connecting Komsomolsk-on-Amur with Khabarovsk. Blogger Hina Markovna told how locals say 'it's now not Komsomolsk-on-Amur, it is Komsomolsk-in-Amur'.

flooding 2013 the Far East of Russia

Komsomolsk-on-Amur, red line marks the dikes that protect the city from the Mylki lake. Picture: blizz_ak.livejournal.com

While some temporary dams and dikes are holding, others are not. And blizz_ak reported: 'Dam - once! Dam - two! Dam - three! Broken! ...

'833 cm .. This is the current level (of the Amur River) near our city, city of Youth, as it is often called. 

'All imaginable and unimaginable highs are exceeded. And the water is coming.

'To cope with this water is not only a problem at times, but just impossible. You read in the news about the number of kilometres of dams, and you are so happy for the fact that somewhere has managed to contain the onslaught of this uninvited guest.But it is rarely said that there are breakthroughs of bulk structures for the construction of which took weeks of work, thousands of trucks of soil, the work of hundreds of people. What is behind these breakthroughs reported with two-three stock phrases?

'I'm not trying to escalate the situation, in our case it is impossible to do. I just want to say what this flood carries with it. Previously, I wrote that my son was working on the construction of a dam near the village Molodezhny. Unfortunately, it could not stand the onslaught of water, which flooded this village. The saddest thing is that the water will go from there to Khurba village, which is located in the vicinity of Komsomolsk-on-Amur airport.

'Washed away was the dam between the settlements of Parus and Parkoviy. People had to be evacuated from flooded houses. Water washed away the dam near the village Gaiter-1. But work on it continues...

'At the entrance to the city, as on Humminskoe highway, as on Orlovskoye, the water flows a crazy pace. The 'Gazprom' station is under water throughout the whole area. Work carries on continuously, the military and volunteers never cease to build sandbag defences. But the water changes our plans.'

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