Mayor of Russia’s Orenburg orders evacuations amid ‘critical’ flooding


Local authorities in Russia’s Ural mountains Orenburg region urged residents of riverside communities to evacuate on Friday, as rising waters in the Ural river flooded villages, and caused a dam to burst, according to Reuters.

In a video message posted on the Telegram messenger app, Orenburg Mayor Sergei Salmin said the situation was “critical”, and that residents of riverside settlements should evacuate immediately.

“Don’t wait for the situation to become threatening! Leave! You need to evacuate as quickly as possible,” said Salmin, whose city is located 1,500 km (930 miles) east of Moscow, close to Russia’s border with Kazakhstan.

He said that 300 houses had already been flooded.

A string of Russian Siberian and Urals mountain provinces, including Orenburg region and neighbouring parts of Kazakhstan have been grappling with floods in recent days.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Orenburg region, the country’s emergencies ministry said, and ministry personnel had helped 3,500 people affected by flooding nationwide in recent days.

In the city of Orsk, 276 km (171 miles) east of Orenburg, a dam burst, threatening part of the city of around 230,000 people with flooding.

State news agency TASS quoted the emergencies ministry as saying that up to 4,000 houses accommodating 10,000 residents of a suburban area of Orsk could be inundated as a result of the dam breach.

The local emergencies ministry said it was evacuating residents of the potential flood zone to gathering points.

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