Over 100K Evacuated As Major Floods Strike Russia, Kazakhstan

The fastest-melting snow in 70 years caused the worst floods in the region, which forced Russia and Kazakhstan to order the evacuation of over 100,000 people. Rivers rose past their breaking point.

Meltwater inundated several communities in Siberia, the Ural Mountains, and parts of Kazakhstan bordering rivers like the Ural and Tobol. According to local authorities, the water level reached record highs in only a few hours, increasing by meters.

Orsk was inundated on Friday as the third-largest European river, the Ural, which flows through Kazakhstan and Russia into the Caspian, broke through an embankment dam.

Rising water levels were affecting the 550,000-strong metropolis of Orenburg downstream.

Alarms sounded in Kurgan to evacuate everyone as soon as possible.

Kurgan rests next to the Tobol, a tributary of the Irtysh.

Tyumen, the biggest hydrocarbon basin on Earth, is located in Western Siberia. It is a key oil-producing area and has declared an emergency.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Kurgan and Tyumen areas still face rough days, but that much water is coming.

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, talked with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan, about the over 86,000 people evacuated from their homes due to floods. According to Tokayev, these floods are likely the worst in 80 years.

While local and emergency authorities were trying their utmost to deal with the downpour, the Kremlin said that Putin was continuously being briefed on the situation and had no imminent plans to visit the flood zone.

A drone video captured traditional wooden cottages and the golden domes of Russian Orthodox churches evacuated from an enormous stretch of the lake in Kurgan, an area home to some 800,000 people.

In Orenburg, a city of almost 500,000, roads were paddled along like rivers. As the Ural climbed to approximately 10 meters, embankments and dams were fortified.

Predictions of increasing river levels were also made for the Ishim River in Siberia. The Ishim is a tributary of the Irtysh, which, along with the Ob, is the seventh-longest river system in the world.

Since snowmelt occurs yearly in Russia, the cause of the very severe floods this year remains unclear.