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Hundreds flee flood waters in Russia's Far East

Heavy flooding in Russia's Far East has prompted the evacuation of more than 400 people from affected regions. The local authorities have been forced to declare a state of emergency.

Heavy rains have brought havoc to Russia's Amur region. The downpours have raised the water level in the local reservoir to a critical benchmark. Thousands of cubic metres of water had to be let out, flooding the river of Zeya and dozens of homes as a result.

The situation has been made worse by a reservoir that threatened to overflow. Officials had to open the sluice gates to prevent a disaster.

The water level keeps rising due to heavy rains, and authorities are forced to discharge millions of litres every second, and this may have to be increased. It means that within the next few days all the settlements down stream may be flooded.

Russia's Emergencies Ministry is using helicopters to deliver supplies to the villages that have been affected the most. People are being evacuated from the area and taken to specially set up centres.

The situation is not good. The water in the reservoir keeps rising so we are preparing to evacuate more people

Oleg Rozhkovsky, head of Ovsyanka village administration

With bridges and roads submerged, some villages have already been cut off from the outside world, and locals see no end in sight.

“We are really worried, because the water might rise. Today they emptied the fuel station. We’ll be left without fuel,” a man complained.

“Yesterday I took my granddaughter to the city. She’s been crying all night because she had to spend it away from her family,” said a woman living in the same area.

If the rain does not ease off, the dam could be forced to open all its gates worsening an already critical situation.