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Situation worsening in southern Russian regions hit by spring floods

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Moscow, April 15 (IANS/DPA) Conditions are deteriorating in regions of southern Russia hit by spring flooding, authorities in the area reported on Monday.

Up to 15,600 homes and 28,000 inhabited properties were under water, with the situation in the Kurgan region on border with Kazakhstan particularly dangerous. Here, the Tobol River in western Siberia had risen by 1.5 metres to around 6.5 metres within a 24-hour period, the reports said.

The Orenburg region to the west has also seen record levels along the Ural River, which takes spring runoff from the Ural Mountains flow.

Exceptional flooding this spring has washed away roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the region. The authorities in the cities of Orenburg and Orsk have estimated the damage at more than 40 billion rubels ($430 million), but the final figure could be higher.

Dozens of bridges have been closed to traffic, and the health authorities have launched a vaccination campaign against Hepatitis A amid concerns about water quality.

There have been complaints that the authorities reacted too late and that assistance has been inadequate and delayed. According to the authorities, 193 localities and 33 regions have been affected, among them Samara and Omsk.

Preparations are also being made in the Novosibirsk region to the east where flooding along major rivers is expected.

Kurgan Governor Vadim Shumkov has urged residents to pack documents, valuables and clothes and evacuate to safe areas. The situation was extremely difficult and was deteriorating, he posted on the Telegram messaging service.

Police, accompanied by members of sports clubs, were organizing patrols to prevent looting, he said.



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