‘The water is coming’: Russians flee flooded homes

ORENBURG, RUSSIA  -  Alexander Budargin, 25, stood outside his block of flats in the Russian city of Orenburg with knee-deep water lapping in the courtyard, wondering whether it was time to leave.

In this city in the southern Urals about a hun­dred kilometres from the border with Kazakhstan, Budargin was one of many residents watching anxiously as water levels in the Ural River contin­ued to rise inexorably. This is one of several ma­jor rivers flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan that have breached their banks this month, caus­ing widespread flooding.

Thousands have had to flee their homes and fur­ther evacuations are continuing, carried out by rescue services and police. “The situation is diffi­cult right now. My parents’ house was almost com­pletely flooded yesterday,” said Budargin, who works in logistics. “The neighbours sent a video showing that the house was underwater, almost up to the level of the roof.” His parents had packed some belongings and come to stay with him. But the Ural River levels continued to rise and are now threatening Budargin’s home, too.

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