Five reported dead in flooding in Russia’s Orenburg region

Ural River water level continues to rise in Orenburg. Photo: EPA-EFE/STRINGER

Ural River water level continues to rise in Orenburg. Photo: EPA-EFE/STRINGER

Five people have died in the flooding in the Orenburg region in the Russian Urals, independent media outlet IStories said Monday.

Four of the deaths occurred in the city of Orsk, the fifth in a village near the regional capital of Orenburg.

Among the dead is a 65-year-old man who had refused to evacuate his home in Orsk. He was first reported missing on 9 April. A relative confirmed his death to IStories, adding that the authorities refused to tell the family the real cause of death.

“Sadly, they’ve said they can only tell us in a month’s time. They won’t write hypothermia, we think, so as not to pay compensation or panic locals, because this isn’t the only death due to the flooding,” she said.

IStories also identified amongst the dead in Orsk an 82-year-old woman who had been missing since 8 April, a 70-year-old man, missing since 9 April, and a 57-year-old man, whom nobody had been able to contact since 7 April. A local volunteer confirmed the latter’s death.

The fifth confirmed death is that of a 51-year-old man from the village of Prigorodny in the Orenburg region. His family evacuated the home on 9 April but he stayed behind to try to save their animals. His wife told IStories that the family returned on 10 April and found his body in the barn.

The report counters the official position of the local authorities who claimed that the deaths in Orsk were not caused by the flooding, saying that two people had died of natural causes and one had committed suicide.

A state of emergency was declared in the Orenburg region on 4 April after torrential rain led to rising water levels. The dam in Orsk, a city with the population of 190,000, was breached the next day, causing catastrophic flooding requiring people to evacuate their homes.

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