Skip to main content

Perilous floods prompt tens of thousands to scramble in Russia's Far East

By Igor Krotov and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sun August 18, 2013
Flood waters hide the streets in Blagoveshchensk, Russia, on Friday, August 16. Aid was being flown into the city on Saturday.
Flood waters hide the streets in Blagoveshchensk, Russia, on Friday, August 16. Aid was being flown into the city on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 3 regions in Russia's Far East suffer catastrophic flooding
  • A government ministry says at least 18,000 are affected
  • Authorities set up 166 shelters, ship in emergency aid, state news reports

(CNN) -- Catastrophic flooding has prompted the evacuation of thousands upon thousands of people in Russia's Far East, a government ministry said Sunday, spurring hasty efforts to set up housing for the displaced.

Russia's emergency ministry said Sunday that 18,000 people had been affected in three regions north of China not far from the Sea of Okhotsk. RIA Novosti, a state-run news agency, identified the affected regions as the Amur region, Khabarovsk Territory and the Jewish Autonomous Region.

This report, citing an emergency ministry spokesperson, had an even larger number of people affected after heavy rains spurred the floods -- 32,000, of which 17,000 had been evacuated.

The evacuees had lived in thousands of homes and apartment buildings across 121 impacted towns and villages, including some like Amurskaya Oblast, Khabarovskiy Krai and Evreiskaya Oblast that were particularly devastated.

Authorities rushed to set up 166 temporary shelters and move in food, water and medical supplies, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said, according to RIA Novosti. That report, for instance, said that a plane had headed to the city of Blagoveshchensk with 53 tons of aid, including food, life jackets and boats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting Saturday on the floods, after which he told local governors to be involved personally in the response.

"No one must be forgotten, and no one must be lost," he said, as reported by RIA Novosti.

The amount of rain should decrease, and the pace water levels are rising should slow down, after Tuesday, said local enviromental official Vyacheslav Parshin. The water in that river -- which is expected to reach 7 meters (23 feet) by August 25 -- had never been so high, Parshin said according to RIA Novosti.

The emergency ministry's report made no mention that anyone had been killed or injured as a result.

But flooding in the expansive nation of Russia has proved deadly before.

Last July, at least 141 people died after floods surged through southern Russia's Krasnodar region, state-run media reported, citing Russia's Interior Ministry.

Scores killed in Russia flooding

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
updated 11:01 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.
updated 8:38 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
updated 11:08 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
updated 1:03 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
updated 5:27 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
updated 9:42 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT