Evacuation Starts in Another Far Eastern Russian City

KHABAROVSK, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – The Far Eastern Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur became the second major city in the region where authorities ordered residents to evacuate from low-lying areas.

City administration spokesman Ivan Lavrentyev said on Tuesday emergency evacuation was ordered for about 780 people who live in private houses in the Mendeleyev settlement on the banks of the swollen Amur River. Residents of two other settlements were also told to leave their homes.

Water levels near Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the second largest city in the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory, rose by 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) in the past 24 hours and stood at 820 centimeters (27 feet). The figures are already well above the critical point of 650 centimeters (21.3 feet).

The Far Eastern emergencies center said in a statement that Amur waters might rise to 930-980 centimeters (30.5-32.1 feet) by September 11-15. About 600 houses might be flooded, affecting 50,000 people or every fifth resident of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Since late July, Russia’s Far Eastern territories have been affected by the worst flood in the 120-year-long history of meteorological records in the region. More than 100,000 people were displaced, 11,000 houses flooded, and total damages are estimated at 30 billion rubles ($1 billion).

The emergency situation was declared in the Khabarovsk Territory, as well as in three other Far Eastern regions. A total of 1,900 houses in 58 cities, towns and villages in the region were flooded, and 3,230 residents were evacuated.

The figure includes about 630 houses with over 8,000 inhabitants, inundated in the Khabarovsk Territory’s largest city, Khabarovsk, with a population of nearly 600,000. Water in the Amur River in the city area rose to 802 centimeters (26.3 feet) as of Tuesday morning, and is expected to cross the 830-centimeter (27.2 feet) mark over the weekend. Under the worst-case scenario, over 870 houses in Khabarovsk will be flooded.

The region’s deputy minister of construction, Irina Igonova, said on Tuesday the floods prompted local authorities to review their 4-billion-ruble (about $133 million) project to build a dam protecting Khabarovsk from floods. The height of the planned dam will be increased, so the project’s cost will rise, she said.

The situation, however, has slightly improved in another Far Eastern region, the Amur Region, where water subsided in 11 settlements. However, 31 settlements remain inundated.


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