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30,000 evacuated as floodwaters continue to swamp Russia’s Far East

As the floodwaters continue to swamp Russia’s Far East, 30,000 people have already been displaced. An RT team travelled to the devastated area to find out why some people are refusing to leave their homes.

Russia’s Far East, which spreads across 2,000 kilometers from west to east, has been hit hard by the seemingly endless inundation.

A dam was recently destroyed by raging flood waters, sinking 60 homes.

Local settlements and villages can now be crossed only by boat.

“Water beneath me is three meters deep, and all around you can just see rooftops and treetops sticking out from above the water. We’ve even just come across a couple who were preparing their dinner on the roof, some of the steadfast few who at the moment refused to leave their homes,” Thomas says, sitting in an emergency services’ boat.

Local resident Aleksey explained to RT why he decided to stay put, along with his brother Slava and cat Syoma.

“We have to stay here to try to save what I can. There’s no other place we can live.”

However, they still have to get to the “mainland” for all the necessities – which is no easy feat considering the circumstances.

Emergency crews search for people and evacuate those affected on the Bolshoy Ussuriysky island near the city of Khabarovsk (RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Ankov)

“We have to travel to dry land by boats to meet my wife, who brings us food from the city.”

However, not everyone was prepared to wait the disaster out, with most of the area’s 30,000 people evacuated and accommodated in temporary shelters.

Thousands of emergency workers and troops continue to pour into the affected region to help cope with the disaster and its aftermath.

In the meantime, medics warn that the local health service may be facing a major crisis, with the rising waters being creating an environment that could trigger an epidemic of diseases such as hepatitis or dysentery.

Despite the authorities’ declaration that they are receiving all the help they need, the worst may still be ahead, with the heavy rains set to continue at least until September.

Watch more in RT’s report.