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Russia says ‘colossal’ amount of river water approaching Siberian city

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Russian authorities said Monday that a “colossal” amount of river water was flowing fast towards the west Siberian city of Kurgan and called for the immediate evacuation of some districts.

Russia and Kazakkstan have been battling devastating floods that have already forced the evacuation of thousands of people and are expected to peak this week on the Tobol and Ishim rivers.

The warning to the city of some 310,000 people came as the neighbouring Tyumen region also prepared for the worst of the floods, while water had began to retreat in parts of the southern Urals.

Kurgan governor Vadim Shumkov said the head of the flood was “10 kilometres (six miles) away from the city.”

“The amount of water is colossal,” he said.

He said that on top of the Tobol river and other waters flowing into it, “more than 1.3 billion cubic meters of water” was coming from Kazakhstan.

He said this was “twice the volume” of a major flood that hit Kurgan in 1994.

– Flow of water getting faster –

Shumkov called on people in areas threatened by flooding to evacuate and said rescue and police services were being reinforced.

“The flow of the water is getting faster,” Shumkov said. “Immediately leave your houses.”

In the neighbouring Tyumen region, authorities said they evacuated eight villages from the rising Tobol river and warned the Ishim river was also overflowing.

“The situation is tense. The water on the Ishim river is rising very dynamically,” Tyumen governor Alexander Moor told Russian state television.

He said the river is expected to reach “historic maximum” levels and that authorities were mulling forced evacuations.

In a video late Sunday, Moor warned the river will “flow intensely” as its ice cover melts, threatening the city of Ishim that has a population of some 65,000.

Russia’s emergency minister Alexander Kurenkov met with people whose homes have been flooded in the Urals city of Orsk — the worst affected city.

The official met with residents after rare protests erupted in the city over how authorities managed the crisis and the compensation.

“I just have walls and a ceiling,” one woman was heard telling Kurenkov in a video published by his ministry.

“The state will take it on itself” to help residents with compensation, Kurenkov told her.

The emergency situations ministry said 3,725 residential buildings were still flooded in Orsk and that over 2,500 people have been evacuated, with over 600 in temporary housing.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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