Magazine article Russian Life

Flood of the Century Buries Yakut Towns

Magazine article Russian Life

Flood of the Century Buries Yakut Towns

Article excerpt

Proverbial 100-year floods overcame the town of Lensk, Sakha Republic (Yakutia) this spring. Some 7,000 residents were relocated and 1831 houses were destroyed. Initially, experts thought that the entire town of Lensk (population 26,000) would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. But a reevaluation concluded that only the lower districts of the town, where the homes were destroyed, will need to be rebuilt at a higher location. At press-time, telephone lines were partially repaired in Lensk, and water and energy supplies were returning to normal.

The reason for the flooding was too swift a spring melt, leading to ice jams that clogged the Lena River. Even Yakutsk was seriously threatened as the water level exceeded the critical mark by 0.5 meters. Sukhoi-24 warplanes were brought in to bomb the ice jams, after which the flooding subsided and the water levels gradually decreased.

President Putin toured the remote Siberian region and promised to find federal funds to help rebuild homes destroyed. …

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