NewsDam disaster in Russia: Official's warning taken as joke by locals

Dam disaster in Russia: Official's warning taken as joke by locals

Scandal in Russia. Residents of flooded regions furious at the minister
Scandal in Russia. Residents of flooded regions furious at the minister
Images source: © TG

7:19 AM EDT, April 8, 2024

Residents of regions inundated by water from a breached dam on the Ural River are expressing outrage over the statements made by the head of the Ministry for Emergency Situations. The official claimed that "the evacuation was announced a week ago," but "people didn't make a decision because they thought it was a joke." This comes despite the mayor of Orsk, Vasily Kozupitsa, reassuring the public just three days before the disaster that "there is no danger."

The dam in Orsk, located in the Orenburg region of Russia, failed last Friday, triggering the evacuation of the area's residents. Faced with an overwhelming natural disaster, authorities urged residents to evacuate independently and immediately.

More than 6,000 homes are underwater. The peak of the flood wave is expected around April 10. In response, authorities have implemented the "typhoon" plan and declared a federal emergency.

The flood in Russia: The controversial statements of the minister

"As of today, April 7, the flooding remains critical. Water levels continue to rise and are expected to increase over the next several days," Vasily Kozupitsa, the mayor of Orsk, noted on his Telegram channel.

President Vladimir Putin's directive that the Minister for Emergency Situations should be present at the site led to Alexander Kurenkov's quick departure to the area. A few hours following Putin's statement, a plane carrying the minister took off from Moscow.

Upon arrival, Minister Alexander Kurenkov engaged with the media, including reporters from Kremlin-aligned channels.

During a broadcast by Rossija24, coverage of the efforts of rescuers in Orsk included comments from Kurenkov.

Kurenkov reiterated that "the evacuation was announced a week ago" and criticized the residents, saying, "People didn't make a decision because they thought it was a joke." He further warned that the water level is expected to continue rising for another week.

On social media, Orsk residents have strongly criticized the official's remarks. It's crucial to note that on April 3, the mayor, Vasily Kozupitsa, declared on his website that "there is currently no such danger," even suggesting that this year's flood would be "the first serious test of the dam's endurance." Tragically, the dam failed just three days later.

Additionally, the Russian government is being accused of obscuring the actual number of casualties. Initially, local authorities disclosed that four people had perished in the flood.

The federal response later claimed that their deaths were not related to the flooding.

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