Water levels in Russia’s Kurgan cross ‘dangerous’ levels


(Reuters) – The water level in the Tobol River around the city of Kurgan in Russia’s southern Urals has exceeded the “dangerous level” mark, RIA state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing local authorities.

The river in the city, which is the administrative centre of the broader Kurgan region straddling the Tobol River near the border with Kazakhstan, rose by 123 cms (four feet) in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, reaching 865 cms (28 feet), RIA reported.

In the centre of Kurgan evacuation sirens have been blasting every two hours, RIA reported, urging resident to flee to safety. Officials said the river reaches a “danger” level once it crosses 850 cms (27 feet).

More than 660 residential houses were flooded in the region by Wednesday morning, RIA cited emergency ministry as saying.

Residents of 14 settlements in the Ishim district of the Tyumen region in southwestern Siberia were also being evacuated on Wednesday with threats coming from the rising level of the Ishim River, officials said.

Water levels in rivers in swathes of Russia’s Ural and southwestern Siberian regions, as well as adjacent areas of Kazakhstan, were still rising rapidly, officials said.

© Reuters. A view from a helicopter shows a flooded area in the Kurgan Region, Russia, in this still image taken from video released April 9, 2024. Russian Emergencies Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

The disaster has been caused by the fast melting of large snowfalls amid heavy rain, swelling the tributaries of several of Europe’s largest rivers.

The total number of people evacuated from their home rose towards 200,000 late Tuesday after the governor of Russia’s Tyumen region told residents of Ishim, a town of 65,000, that they should leave urgently.