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Floods grip Russia’s Kurgan region as Tobol River rises

Moscow, Russia

Russia warned people to evacuate parts of the Urals city of Kurgan as the mighty Tobol River swelled with meltwater and burst its banks, submerging swathes of Russia and Kazakhstan and forcing tens of thousands to abandon their homes.

Russia’s southern Ural region and northern Kazakhstan have been grappling with the worst flooding in living memory after very large snow falls melted swiftly amid heavy rain over land which was already waterlogged before winter.

A drone view shows a flooded area around the Dubki residential complex in Orenburg, Russia, on 12th April, 2024. PICTURE: Reuters/Stringer

Flooding is expected to peak on Monday in Russia’s Kurgan, a region of 800,000 people at the confluence of the Ural mountains and Siberia, as the Tobol River rose to 6.31 metres in the main city, Kurgan.

Kurgan Governor Vadim Shumkov said there was almost a “sea” of water approaching.

“The city of Kurgan itself will be next,” Shumkov said. “The flow of the Tobol is accelerating. The water level in it is constantly rising.”

“Fellow countrymen, leave the flooded areas immediately.”

Shumkov warned that flooding would beging shortly on the right bank of the Tobol, which slices the region south to north, and the low part of its left bank.

More than 7,100 people were evacuated on Sunday from several hundred residential buildings that had been flooded, state news agency RIA said, citing Russia’s emergency ministry, as the waters threatened 62 settlements and 4,300 homes.

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In neighbouring Kazakhstan, where more than 111,000 have been evacuated since floods began last month, waters submerged more than 1,000 additional homes in the city of Petropavlovsk on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people.

The Tobol, a tributary of the Irtysh, rose 23 centimetres in the four hours to 6am on Monday, regional authorities said.

Floods were also inundating homes in the Tomsk region in the south-western part of Siberia, regional officials said on Telegram.

Almost 140 houses near the city of Tomsk, which is the regional administrative centre, were under water on Monday and 84 people were evacuated.


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