Russia evacuates 4,000 people after a dam bursts on the Kazakh border

Representative image | Photo: Bloomberg

Three people have died following flooding after an embankment dam broke in the southern region of Orenburg, near Kazakhstan, CNN reported on Saturday, citing Russian news agency TASS.

Thousands of Russians have been evacuated because the dam in the city of Orsk failed to stem the flow of water from the Urals and broke in two places, local authorities told TASS.

Authorities have reported that 4,208 people have been evacuated in the region, including 1,019 children, and 495 temporary shelters for 82,200 people are being prepared, according to TASS.

According to regional authorities, the level of the Ural River on Saturday morning was almost double the level for which the dam was designed.

The dam’s failure occurred because the hydraulic structure was not properly maintained and a criminal investigation has been opened, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

The dam protected the city from the waters of the Ural River. By Saturday morning, water had reached several neighborhoods of the city, flooding nearly 2,400 residential buildings, TASS reported.

“A state of emergency is in force in Orenburg,” the head of the Orenburg region, Sergey Salmin, said in a Telegram post on Saturday.

“This situation leaves us no choice; overnight the (river) level could reach a critical level. I demand that everyone immediately leave their homes in the flood area.”

“Those who refuse to voluntarily leave the danger zone will be evacuated by force, with the cooperation of police officers,” he added, CNN reported.

Orsk, a city of 230,000 inhabitants, is located near the Russian border with Kazakhstan.

First print: April 6, 2024 | 11:32 PM IST