Trans Siberian trains are on schedule despite rivers breaking their banks and plans to evacuate the gateway of Khabarovsk.
The Far East of Russia is hit by the worst flooding in history; mass evacuation of Khabarovsk will be triggered if the Amur river's level tops 780 cm. Picture: Alexander Golovko
In the city, hundreds of soldiers are deployed to erect dikes to hold back the rising waters of the Amur River. At least 50,000 have been hit by flooding so far across the region, with numbers forecast to double. Mass evacuation of Khabarovsk, the Far East of Russia's second largest city, will be triggered if the Amur River's level tops 780 centimetres, a real possibility in the coming week.
Yet the rail line from Moscow to Vladivostok - with Khabarovsk a key stop - is running more or less normally.
'We are working in an absolutely standard mode, there are no disruptions due to flooding of the railway,' said Denis Tripelets, Head of Corporate Communications of the Far Eastern Railway.
'All threats and washouts are promptly promptly. To date the situation is not easy, but nor is it critical. The Amur River does not impinge too much on the railway. The same is true of the little rivers'.
We sent 11 coaches to Priamurskaya station, where evacuated people are now living. The situation on this station and in the settlement Telman nearby is very hard. For three days we have been building a dam along the railway that holds back the water of the Amur. Now many people from the settlement live on the station in our coaches', Denis Tripelets said. Pictures: Far Eastern Railway
The floods - now covering an area roughly the size of France, Germany and the UK combined - pose a headache for rail chiefs but so far they report no significant delays. 'We monitor and analyse the situation. Every day, at a meeting of staff we collect data from regional flood control commissions, local administrative authorities, and the urban and regional management of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
'We analyse all information and take measures to prevent breaks in the movement of trains.'
Information from train drivers is relayed back via dispatchers.
'If there is some threat we send the 'anti-washout' train. We created such trains specially to prevent the consequences of flooding. Now we have 305 wagons, among them the platforms with macadam, stone, logs, sleepers and so on. When we have information of some threat we form the train and send it in the place of danger'.
The railway is also providing coaches with beds for evacuees forced out of their homes by flooding in the Jewish Autonomous Region, one of the worst-hit areas. 'We sent 11 coaches to Priamurskaya station, where evacuated people are now living. The situation on this station and in the settlement Telman nearby is very hard. For three days we have been building a dam along the railway that holds back the water of the Amur. Now many people from the settlement live on the station in our coaches'.
Overall the Far East Railway is ready to give 100 coaches for temporary accommodation for those made homeless by the flooding.
'Russia's Far East has fallen victim to unprecedented flooding that is far worse than its oldest residents can recall or since records began,' reported Moskovskiye Novosti.
Mass evacuation of Khabarovsk, the Far East of Russia's second largest city, will be triggered if the Amur River's level tops 780 centimetres.
The water is rising... Citizins of Khabarovsk, soldiers and volunteers work together, protecting the city from the flood. Pictures: Alexander Golovko
Around 100 residents of partially flooded Bolshoi Ussuriisky island at the confluence of the Amur and Ussrui have refused to be evacuated.
Fears are growing of the spread of disease. For example animal burial sites have been submerged in several areas.
The Siberian Times thanks photographer Alexander Golovko for pictures from Khabarovsk; please see more images in his blog golovko.livejournal.com
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