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Sat. May 18th, 2024

Amidst unprecedented flooding, Russia grapples with dire conditions as another major river breaches its banks, inundating roads and settlements in the Siberian region of Tomsk. Rapidly rising temperatures have triggered the swift melting of snow and ice, resulting in numerous major rivers traversing Russia and Kazakhstan overflowing their banks.

In the Tomsk region, located 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) east of Moscow, three villages find themselves isolated from the regional capital as the swelling waters of the river Tom inundate roads, villages, and numerous residences, as reported by local officials cited in state media.

Neighboring Kazakhstan faces ongoing evacuations as approximately 100,000 individuals are compelled to abandon their homes due to rising waters. Meanwhile, in Russia, the Orenburg region bears the brunt of the catastrophe, with thousands of residential structures submerged in floodwaters.

“The flood this year has surpassed all historical records in the entire history of observation,” declared the Orenburg city administration in a Telegram post on Thursday. Water levels in the Ural river, coursing past the city, have surged by nearly one meter (39 inches) since Wednesday morning, standing at 10.6 meters on Thursday morning — 1.3 meters above the designated “critical level.”

In Orenburg, housing over half a million residents, an additional 400 residential buildings succumbed to flooding within the past day, according to city officials. The emergency situations ministry underscores the persisting challenges, affirming that conditions in the region “remain difficult.”

Typically, spring floods affect extensive areas of Russia and Kazakhstan as temperatures rise and vast accumulations of ice and snow thaw. However, this year’s inundations mark the most severe in decades, exacerbated by swiftly escalating temperatures and relentless downpours.

Authorities in the Siberian region of Tyumen caution that the Tobol and Ishim rivers are poised to reach their peak levels between April 23-25, based on forecasts from Russia’s meteorological agency. In Orsk, the hardest-hit city in Russia thus far, residents staged rare protests earlier this week regarding the adequacy of compensation for property damages.

Meanwhile, officials in the Kazakh city of Petropavlovsk, home to over 200,000 people, issue grave warnings as the city braces for potential severe flooding within the next 48 hours.

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