24 August 2013, 11:30

Amur River floods Russia's Khabarovsk

Хабаровск наводнение

The emergency situation regime remains in effect in the Russian Far East because of the Amur River water level that’s been rising in recent weeks. The flood water levels have begun decreasing in some areas of the Amur Region, but the situation remains tense in Khabarovsk, the capital city of the Khabarovsk Territory.

Flood water levels keep growing in Khabarovsk, with the historical record broken when the water level exceeded 642 centimetres a week ago. The Amur River near Khabarovsk has since risen well above the 7-metre mark. Hydrologists do not rule out that the water level may reach 8 metres. This is what the First Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry for the Khabarovsk Territory, Denis Ilyinov, told the Voice of Russia about the way his Ministry rescue teams have been acting in the situation that’s taken shape.

"Khabarovsk, a city of almost 600,000, Denis Ilyinov says, is mostly hilly country, dotted with high-rises. But the parts of the city area along the river are lowlands, the site of private homes. This is where rescue teams built sandbag dikes, so now the basic objective is to ensure that the dikes will not be broken by the rising water."

Still, some districts of Khabarovsk have been flooded, with part of residents already moved out of their homes. The city residents are increasingly concerned as the river water levels keep growing, but, paradoxically, they are in no rush to leave their homes. This is what a resident of Khabarovsk, Ekaterina Sharapova, has told the Voice of Russia about the situation.

"Many people, Ekaterina Sharapova says, come to the river embankment every day to see how much the river has risen since the previous day. And the people are clearly concerned about the situation. More raining is expected next week, so the river is likely to flood the streets. Some people are panicking because of water contamination. They have started buying up bottled water from the shops. Candles and boxes of matches are also being bought up because of spreading rumours that power will be cut off."

The region authorities have started counting losses. 1,257 kilometres of roads have been washed out by the floods. Damage has been estimated at approximately 3 billion roubles. But the region’s total loss from floods will make up at least 10 billion roubles, according to the Amur Region Governor Oleg Kozhemyako. Also, two adults and a child have left in a boat to inspect the flooded environs, and have since gone missing in the area of the town Svobodny.

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