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State of emergency as serious flooding hits the Amur Region amid concerns over dam

By Anna Liesowska
07 August 2013

Warnings of worse rain for the rest of the week came on Wednesday as evacuation of 30 settlements was planned by the authorities.

The flood situation may worsen in next few days, but it is not disastrous, according to Alexander Frolov, head of the Russian weather forecasting service Roshydromet. Picture: @ Anik, Mail.ru forum

The key focal point is the giant dam of the Zeiskaya hydropower plant in the Russian Far East which officials insisted was not under threat. Amid concerns over a large water discharge, a plan to evacuate 30 settlements was drawn up. 

'The situation is getting worse, we received a letter from the 'Zeya' hydropower plant over a larger water discharge from the hydropower plant and decided to evacuate people according to the worst scenario of development,' said Governor of the Amur region Oleg Kozhemyako.

Meanwhile there were also assurances that the situation was not critical at the dam.

'The Zeiskaya hydropower plant is under our constant oversight, there is no threat to its dam," said an official from the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight. 

the Zeyskaya hydropower plant

 The Zeiskaya hydropower plant. Picture: rushydro.ru 

The Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov - who flew to the rain-hit region on Wednesday and announced the state of emergency - said: 'The situation is difficult, but stable, federal structures, regional executive authorities and local self-government bodies are working jointly. Necessary material stocks were made'.

The water level in the rivers Zeya and Amur went up 7-10 metres, the rivers burst their banks at many places, said an Itar-Tass report. 

'Sixteen settlements are flooded in the Amur region, the hardest situation has emerged in the village of Vladimirovka in the Blagoveshchensk district. As many as 215 houses are flooded in the village,' said the report citing the press service of the main Emergency Situation Ministry's department in the Amur region. 

'The rivers also flooded the villages Ivanovka, Algach, Mazanovo, Ust-Ivanovka and others. 334 residential houses are flooded there, in some of them the water is up to the windows, 1,500 people were evacuated.'

The dramatic despatch continued: 'The rivers Zeya and Amur bursting their banks turned almost in the seas, as one bank is hardly seen from another one. The water flows have washed out eight kilometres of roads in various districts, the vehicles cannot drive to the settlements. The rescuers of the emergency situation service are bringing foodstuffs to people by inflatable boats.'

flooding Amur region August 2013


flooding Amur region August 2013

Warnings of worse rain for the rest of the week came on Wednesday as evacuation of 30 settlements was planned by the authorities. Pictures: @ Anik, Mail.ru forum

The flood situation may worsen in next few days, but it is not disastrous, according to Alexander Frolov, head of the Russian weather forecasting service Roshydromet.

'We expect a worse situation on August 8-9, heavy rains will be falling, then their intensity will go down,' he said. 'We do not dramatize the situation and we cannot name it disastrous.'

But  Puchkov called for scrupulously accurate forecasts.

'I need clear figures, a clear weather forecast for each hour, each day,' he stated. 

The Russian Defence Ministry announced it was assisting hard-hit communities in the Amur region.  

'The engineering units of the 35th Army of the Eastern Military District are advancing to help to the residents of the most flood-hit settlements in the Zeya district of the Amur Region,' said a spokesman. 

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