Water level continues to fall in Orsk while rising fast in Orenburg

Rescue workers in Orenburg, 13 April 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

Rescue workers in Orenburg, 13 April 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

Devastating flooding across much of the Orenburg region on Russia’s border with Kazakhstan is continuing to cause enormous damage and disruption, even as the water level in the worst affected city continued to go down on Saturday.

Despite flood waters in the region’s second city of Orsk receding further overnight, the level of the Ural River in the regional capital Orenburg had risen by a further 54 cm on Saturday afternoon, reaching a height of 11.8 meters, according to the city authorities.

“We calculate that this is the plateau: there will be no more rise, the situation will stabilise, and the water level will go down," Orenburg Governor Denis Pasler said on Telegram on Saturday morning, though the water levels in the city did in fact continue to rise in the hours that followed.

Over the past 24 hours a further 800 houses and 1,800 plots of land in Orenburg flooded, according to one regional official cited by state news agency TASS, a total of 3,000 houses and 8,000 plots of land. The evacuation of residents from vulnerable areas of the city is continuing.

In Orsk, which until now has been by far the worst affected city in the region, the water level fell by another 23 cm, to 731 cm, just over the critical level of 7 metres, making about 200 flooded homes accessible again.

The flooding in Orsk was caused by the collapse of a dam on 5 April following torrential rains. A second dam was breached in the neighboring town of Novotroitsk two days later. On Wednesday, the flood waters reached Orenburg.

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