Extreme floods batter Russia’s far east

Water in the Amur river near the city of Khabarovsk rose to the highest level recorded in more than a century.

    Authorities in eastern Russia are battling with some of the worst flooding in 120 years, which has already forced thousands from their homes, local media reports say.

    The Jewish Autonomous Region remains the worst hit: farms and villages, according to Russian television, have been submerged under the floodwaters.

    Authorities said the situation was deteriorating after water in the Amur river near the city of Khabarovsk rose to new levels on Thursday, threatening residential areas and electricity plants.

    “We've got 24 electrical substations in the flooded area with the water level up to 8 metres,” said Sergey Kotov, head of the engineering services department of the Khabarovsk city administration.

    We've got 24 electrical substations in the flooded area with the water level up to 8 metres

    Sergey Kotov, Khabarovsk city official

    This was the highest water level recorded since monitoring began in 1895.

    “As of today, six substations where the water is too close are banked up to protect them from water,” Kotov said.

    The electricity supply has been turned off in several shops and banks in Khabarovsk, Russian television reported.

    It said more than 600 soldiers had been drafted to build temporary dykes along the embankment of the river to prevent further flooding.

    Nearly 300 residential buildings, including 14 apartment buildings, are flooded in the Khabarovsk area, officials said.

    The floodwaters damaged property, infrastructure and crops, displaced tens of thousands and raised fresh questions about the Russian government's readiness to handle natural disasters.

    Thousands have already been forced from their homes in eastern Russia, and authorities predicted that up to 40,000 people could be affected as the flood zone widens.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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