Floods and floods in Russia – what do you need to know?

The spring of 2024 in Russia began with floods and large-scale floods, which affected 186 settlements in 39 regions of the country. According to official data, about 16 thousand houses and almost 28 thousand household plots went under water. The water, meanwhile, only continues to rise, which is why, according to media reports, on April 22, old uranium deposits could have ended up in the flood zone, which is fraught with serious consequences in the future. In the Orenburg region, authorities continue to struggle with the consequences of the flood, and the city of Orsk suffered the most – there, due to the flood, a protective embankment dam broke, and the water height reached two meters for several days. Note that this is the worst flood in the region in the last 80 years, and the Ural River, the third largest in Europe, overflowed its banks due to the rapid melting of snow and ice. We tell you what floods and floods are and what consequences such disasters can cause.

Floods and floods in Russia - what you need to know? Flood in OrenburgImage: dw.com. Photo.

Flood in Orenburg
Image: dw.com


  • 1 Floods and floods – what are they?
    • 1.1 Consequences and diseases
  • 2 Causes of floods
    • 2.1 Controlled floods
  • < li>3 Flood in Russia 2024

Floods and floods – what are they?

When water overflows its banks or erodes normally dry land, a flood begins. And yes, there are very few places on our planet where you don’t need to worry about them. Floods typically develop over a period of hours or even days, giving residents a chance to prepare or evacuate. It also happens, however, that floods occur without warning.

The most common cause of floods is the overflow of rivers or streams. Such floods are called floods. Heavy rain, a dam or levee failure, rapid melting of mountain ice, or even a beaver dam in a vulnerable location can cause a river to overflow and flood nearby lands. The area surrounding the river is called the floodplain.

Floods and floods - what are they? The largest flood in Russia in the last 80 years. Image: s.france24.com. Photo.

The largest flood in Russia in the last 80 years. Image: s.france24.com

Floods are the second most common natural disasters on Earth after forest fires.

As floodwaters recede, affected areas are often covered in silt and mud, and annual floods carry away millions of tons of nutrient-rich soil. The main thing, however, is that floods have enormous destructive power. When a river overflows its banks or the sea moves inland, many structures cannot withstand the pressure of the water, including bridges, houses, trees and cars.

Floods erode the soil, tearing it out from under the foundation of a building, causing it to collapse. cracks and crumbles. For example, severe flooding in Bangladesh in July 2007 resulted in the damage or destruction of more than a million homes.

Floods and floods - what are they? As a result of a major flood in Bangladesh in 2007, millions of local residents suffered. Image: tengrinews.kz. Photo.

Major floods in Bangladesh in 2007 affected millions of local residents. Image: tengrinews.kz

Floods cause even more damage when water recedes, contaminating the landscape with hazardous materials including trash, pesticides, fuels and raw sewage. Potentially dangerous mold can also quickly attack water-soaked structures.

Consequences and diseases

One of the main challenges in flood recovery is infectious disease control – Flood victims can go weeks without clean drinking water, which can lead to outbreaks of deadly diseases such as typhoid fever, malaria, hepatitis A and cholera.

This is precisely the situation observed in 2000 in Mozambique, when hundreds of people fled from the overflowing Limpopo River. Soon, outbreaks of cholera and malaria occurred in temporary accommodation centers – unsanitary conditions and a lack of clean water provoked cholera, and insects thriving on flooded river banks provoked malaria.

Consequences and diseases. The Yellow River flood is one of the most destructive in the world. Image: secretmag.ru. Photo.

The Yellow River flood is one of the most destructive in the world. Image: secretmag.ru

Another example is the disaster that unfolded in 1931 in the Chinese Yellow River Valley – the worst flood in the last 100 years turned out to be one of the most destructive natural disasters in history: almost a million people drownedand even more were left homeless.

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Causes of floods

Since floods are part of the water cycle, and the environment is adapted to them, many floods occur naturally. Wetlands along the banks of rivers, lakes, and estuaries absorb flood waters, and vegetation (particularly trees, grasses, and sedges) slows the flow of flood waters and distributes its energy more evenly. But even «natural floods» cause damage to the environment.

Thus, in August 2010, Pakistan experienced one of the worst floods of the century. The annual monsoon, which Pakistan's farmers and consumers depend on, has been unusually strong. Tons of water flooded the country when the Indus River overflowed its banks. Since the river flows almost directly through a narrow area, almost all of Pakistan was affected by flooding.

Causes of floods. Pakistan floods in 2010. Image: cdn.vox-cdn.com. Photo.

Floods in Pakistan in 2010. Image: cdn.vox-cdn.com

Almost 2,000 people died as a result of this natural disaster, and crops of rice, wheat and corn were destroyed. The effects of the floods continued long after the monsoons ceased and the water level of the Indus River dropped. Sometimes floods are caused by other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. This is because the rains accompanying hurricanes and cyclones can quickly flood coastal areas.

Read also: Flooding in the Irkutsk region: causes and consequences

Controlled floods

Floods can also occur “artificially”, and many of them are deliberate and controlled. For example, rice farmers use flooded fields. This is because rice is a semi-aquatic crop – it grows in water. After planting rice seedlings, farmers flood their fields with approximately 15-25 centimeters of water.

Rice fields must be carefully designed to allow controlled flooding. Strong dams or crossings are needed, as well as regulated channels for irrigation, experts note.

Sometimes engineers flood an area to restore the ecosystem. So, in 2008, the Grand Canyon in the United States was deliberately flooded – water was released from dams on the Colorado River, which flows through the Grand Canyon. In 20 minutes, the dam in Lake Powell, Utah, released enough water to flood the Empire State Building.

Controlled flooding. This is what controlled flooding of the Grand Canyon looked like. Image: www.mountaintripper.com. Photo.

This is what controlled flooding of the Grand Canyon looked like. Image: www.mountaintripper.com

Hydrologists, engineers and environmentalists hoped that flooding the canyon would help redistribute sediment that had been blocked by dams and create sandbars that provide habitat for wildlife.

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However, not all man-made floods are intentional. The natural banks of rivers and streams are shrinking as people develop nearby lands. To accommodate such development, river banks are paved with hard, non-porous materials. Soil and plants are replaced with concrete and asphalt, which cannot absorb water. Unusual amounts of rainfall can cause these rivers to quickly overflow their concrete banks.

Flood in Russia 2024

The flood of 2024 will go down in Russian history as the strongest in recent decades: the Ural River, flowing through Orsk, Orenburg, Kazakhstan and flowing into the Caspian Sea, overflowed its banks, causing flood waters to threaten several regions of Northern Kazakhstan, and many dams and reservoirs are filled to capacity. Let us note thatfloods are not uncommon in our country, especially when winter turns into spring. But in our memory there was nothing like this.

Earlier in April, the head of the North Kazakhstan region, Gauz Nurmukhambetov, warned that a«huge flow» water.

Flood in Russia 2024. About 2,000 houses were flooded in Orenburg, the water level in which exceeded the critical level of 9.3 m. Image: rtvi.com. Photo.

In Orenburg, about 2,000 houses were flooded, the water level in which exceeded the critical level of 9.3 m. Image: rtvi.com

Despite the fact that the dam break in Orsk occurred in early April, by the end of the month the situation remains alarming in many regions – for example, in one day the number of houses flooded by floods increased by 1.7 thousand (according to TASS), and regional services regularly publish reports for the last hours. At the time of writing this article, the situation is that the water in many regions of the country continues to rise.

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At the moment, the situation in the Kurgan, Tyumen, Orenburg and Khabarovsk regions remains difficult. Thus, according to data from April 18, the level of the Tobol River in the Kurgan area was 970 cm, in the Ketovsky district in the area of ​​the settlement. In the sanatorium, the water level remains above 11 meters, in the Ketovo and Kryukovo areas – above 10 meters. The rise of the Tobol near Kurgan, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, will continue in the next couple of days and may range from 25 to 100 cm.

Kurgan airport staff have been switched to round-the-clock operation to ensure uninterrupted reception of Russian Emergency Situations Ministry aircraft due to the flood situation in the region, TASS reports citing the press service of the air harbor. The number of flooded residential and country houses in the Kurgan region has reached 5,470, media reports.

In the Tyumen region, the water level in the Ishim River near the city of the same name increased over the evening and night by 44 cm and amounted to 462 cm. More than 1.5 thousand residents of the region were evacuated. In the Orenburg region, according to the authorities, work is underway to restore water supply, and in Orsk, within 24 hours, water has drained from 370 flooded household plots and residential buildings. According to the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the water level in the Tom River in the area of ​​the Lagerny Garden is decreasing, but the situation is still tense.

Flood in Russia 2024. In the Kurgan region, due to the flood, a state of emergency has been in effect since April 8. Image: static.dw.com. Photo.

In the Kurgan region, due to the flood, a state of emergency has been in effect since April 8. Image: static.dw.com

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Given the scale of the disaster, old uranium wells in the Kurgan region may also be flooded. Experts report that the Dobrovolnoye field, located in the Zverinogolovsky district, is in a zone of possible flooding. In short, the consequences of the spring flood are large-scale, and work to eliminate them will not end soon.