NewsRodents blamed for catastrophic dam burst flooding thousands

Rodents blamed for catastrophic dam burst flooding thousands

Dam breach in Russia. Expert found the culprit.
Dam breach in Russia. Expert found the culprit.
Images source: © X

2:21 PM EDT, April 9, 2024

Over the weekend, in the city of Orsk in the southern Urals, near the Kazakhstan border, a dam burst, flooding several thousand homes. The company director responsible for constructing the dam attributed the catastrophe to rodents, stirring disbelief among journalists.

As the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations reported, authorities declared a state of emergency in the Orenburg region where Orsk is situated following the dam burst. The flood impacted several thousand homes in an area populated by 10,000 people.

From Saturday night into Sunday, the villages of Nickel and Stroitel found themselves underwater. Residents were evacuated as the Ural River in the Orenburg region rose to 36 feet, marking the highest flood recorded in the region’s history, according to the governor of the Orenburg region.

According to the press services of Denis Pasler, the Orenburg region's governor, 4,208 people were evacuated, including 1,019 children.

Several streets in Orsk were closed to traffic, and some districts experienced gas and electricity shutoffs. Over 700 rescuers, armed with specialized equipment, are currently addressing the situation.

The cause of the dam's failure remains undefined. "I considered two potential factors. The first was the human factor—perhaps improper equipment was used for repairs, which could have damaged several pipelines. However, after reviewing the materials, I find this scenario unlikely," said the dam's constructing company director.

A peculiar explanation for the massive flood in Russia emerged swiftly: animals.

"After eliminating other factors, only one remained—rodents, which could have gnawed through the dam. A hole as small as 0.8-1.2 inches in diameter would have been sufficient for the dam to fail," he stressed.

Protests in Orsk stir warnings

The prosecutor's office cautioned residents against participating in protests, noting that "authorities have not authorized the mass event, thus participating could lead to charges for breaking rally conduct rules, including administrative arrest."

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