The flooded village of Bolshoi Ussuriysky island close to the city of the Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur region.
MOSCOW: Russians in the Far East yesterday battled rising floodwaters as authorities evacuated more than 23,000 people and scrambled to prevent the outbreak of disease.
Heavy rains pounding Khabarovsk, a Far Eastern city located near the Chinese border, since July have swelled the local Amur River to nearly 7m — a level unseen since monitoring of the area began in 1895.
The floodwaters damaged property, infrastructure and crops, displaced tens of thousands and raised fresh questions about the Russian government’s readiness to handle natural disasters.
There have been no reports of fatalities but more than 23,000 people have been evacuated so far, the office of the Kremlin’s Far Eastern envoy Viktor Ishayev said in a statement.
Television footage showed locals making their way through a flooded area by boat and a cow wading through muddy waters, submerged nearly up to its neck.
Locals complained that faeces were finding their way into the water. “The saddest part is that we are being flooded in shit,” a local man said in televised remarks.
The floods have affected the Yakutia, Primorsky Krai and Amur and Khabarovsk regions as well as the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
The Amur river, which serves as a natural border with China where it is known as the Heilongiang river, had risen to 676cm yesterday. It is expected to rise by another 30cm-40cm over the next two days.
“According to estimates, the water levels near Khabarovsk can reach 730cm-780cm on August 24-28,” the Khabarovsk city administration said.
Yury Varakin, head of the situation centre at Russia’s state weather service Rosgidromet, said the water levels around Khabarovsk reached a level unseen since regular monitoring began in 1895.
“The highest water level stood at 642cm in 1897,” he said. “In many areas the river spread out over tens of kilometres. The unfavourable situation will remain until the end of the month.” AFP