• Weeks of heavy rains have also swamped parts of Siberia
  • Kazakh president bemoans largest disaster in 80 years

Residents are evacuated following a dam burst in the city of Orsk on April 5. Source: Russian Ministry of Emergency/Anadolu/Getty Images

Authorities in Russia ordered residents to evacuate parts of the Orenburg-region city of Orsk ofter a dam burst, adding to existing flooding in the region.

Tens of thousands of people have been relocated in neighboring Kazakhstan as well following heavy rains that have swamped the Ural mountains and nearby regions, including parts of Siberia.

Almost 11,000 people live in the affected areas of Orsk, Interfax reported, citing city authorities. The dam broke after recent downpours, according to local officials and Russia’s emergency services.

Russia declared a state of emergency in the Orenburg region earlier this week after days of unrelenting rains led to widespread flooding. More than 2,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the area.

In Orsk, which lies about 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles) east of Moscow, 600 residences are estimated to have flooded overnight, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. About 530 people are aiding the rescue effort, it said. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Orsk is a city of about 200,000 people on the banks of the Ural and Or Rivers. The embankment dam was constructed about a decade ago.

Floods are also advancing in Barnaul, the capital of the Altai territory in western Siberia, authorities said.

Kazakhstan has evacuated almost 47,000 people from the flood zone, according to the emergency services ministry.

“This is perhaps the largest disaster in terms of scale and impact in the last 80-plus years,” Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in an address to the nation.

Rescue work is continuing, but Tokayev told Kazakh residents that authorities have the situation under control, with all available resources including the national guard and the armed forces mobilized.

— With assistance from Yuliya Fedorinova

(Updates with Kazakhstan, additional details throughout)

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