Emergency Situations Ministry says flood waters now receding in Orsk

Orenburg. Photo: Ural56ru / Telegram

Orenburg. Photo: Ural56ru / Telegram

Water levels have started to recede in flooded areas of Orsk, the city in Russia’s Orenburg region that was inundated following the collapse of a nearby dam, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry announced on Monday, in comments reported by Interfax.

“The water level in the Ural River around Orsk went down by 9 centimetres in two hours, but is still at dangerous levels,” the Ministry said.

The news followed a decisive turn in the public’s mood on Monday, when around a hundred people gathered in the city’s main square for an impromptu protest about the slow pace of the emergency response to the extreme flooding across the region. Addressing protesters over megaphones, the police instructed people to end their unsanctioned protest immediately.

However, later on Monday, Orenburg Governor Denis Pasler met with representatives of the protesters to assure them that he had been working constantly since the first day of the flood, and had been unable to “sleep, wash, or change clothes”.

The dam in Orsk was breached late on Friday evening following torrential rain that has affected large parts of the Urals, western Siberia and neighbouring Kazakhstan, where the flooding has been described as the worst natural disaster for 80 years.

Russian business daily RBC on Tuesday reported that local residents had been concerned about the safety of the dam in the days before the breach, reporting a series of leaks to the regional authorities, only to be told repeatedly that the dam was in no danger of collapse.

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