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Tens of thousands displaced as floods engulf Kazakhstan, Russia

A drone view shows a flooded area around the Dubki residential complex in Orenburg, Russia, on April 12, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

More than 125,000 people have been displaced as floods engulfed swathes of northern Kazakhstan and Russia's Urals region.

Some cities in Russia and Kazakhstan were submerged after very large snowfalls melted swiftly amid heavy rain over land already waterlogged before winter on Monday, and swelled the tributaries of the Ob, the world's seventh longest river system, beyond bursting point.

According to Reuters, several districts in the city of Petropavlovsk in the North Kazakhstan region were completely flooded.

Local officials said that nearly 1,000 houses have been flooded in the North Kazakhstan region, and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated.

The flooding, which was described as the worst in living memory, also interrupted power and water supply in Petropavlovsk, which sits on the Ishim River, a tributary of the Irtysh, the chief tributary of the Ob.

In Russia, the Kurgan region was grappling with flooding and rising water levels in the Tobol River, another tributary of the Irtysh. Water levels jumped to 6.31 meters in the main city, Kurgan.

Governor Vadim Shumkov said there was almost a "sea" of water approaching.

"The city of Kurgan itself will be next," Shumkov said, adding, "The flow of the Tobol is accelerating. The water level in it is constantly rising."

According to the regional government, about 13,000 people were evacuated both from the already flooded areas and from those at risk of flooding in Kurgan region.

Floods were also submerging homes in the Tomsk region in the southwestern part of Siberia, regional officials said on Telegram.

Nearly 140 houses near the city of Tomsk were under water on Monday and 84 people were evacuated.

The Ob rises in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia and empties into the Arctic Ocean.

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