Last Friday night (5), a dam in the Russian city of Orsk, Orenburg region, was broken, causing the flooding of more than 10,000 homes. The following day there was a second rupture on the right bank of the dam, further aggravating the situation.

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According to the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations, 39 regions were affected by the flood. Local authorities announced the start of the evacuation about two hours before the dam collapsed.

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This Monday (8), authorities reiterated to residents the need to evacuate, as the situation in the region is not improving and floods are increasingly affecting nearby areas.

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Flooding in the Orenburg region declared a federal emergency, and the regional government reported that damage caused by the flood totaled 21 billion rubles (about R$1.14 billion).

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According to the decision of the authorities of the Orenburg region, the affected residents of Orsk will receive payments in the amount of 20 thousand rubles (about a thousand reais), and in case of loss of property – from 50 thousand to 100 thousand rubles (R$ 2,716 to approximately R$5,432).

Rescuers evacuating residents from the flooded part of the city of Orsk, Russia’s Orenburg region, southeast of the southern tip of the Ural Mountains. / Anatoliy Zhdanov / Kommersant / AFP

Hundreds of Orsk residents held a demonstration near the city administration building, protesting the lack of effective measures to combat the floods and the small amount of compensation allocated to the victims. Protesters demand the resignation of Orsk Mayor Vasily Kozupitsa.

In a video published by the portal, Vasily Kozupitsa tries to speak to residents through a loudspeaker. After that, several people approached him and asked how long it would take to eliminate the consequences of the flood and why possible threats were not discussed in a timely manner. “The water is flowing and cannot be stopped,” said the mayor.

The authorities of the Orenburg region decided to build the dam in 2010, the cost of which was estimated at 932 million rubles. The then head of Orsk, Viktor Franz, said that the dam “was supposed to protect the city from both sides and forever solve the problem of the threat of flooding during floods”.

It was also reported that residents present at the protest this Monday (8) stated that the dam, built with money from the federal budget, was built with violations and therefore would not have been able to prevent the flooding.

After the demonstration, the mayor of Orsk promised 100 thousand rubles to all families affected by the flood. According to Kozupitsa, families will receive a one-off payment, not as compensation for lost property, but as “primary support to recover at least some of the pain.”

According to him, more than 200 residents of Orsk have already taken advantage of this right and applications continue to be accepted. In addition, Kozupitsa listed other support measures that the governor of the Orenburg region, Denis Pasler, had previously promised at a meeting with residents.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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