(Moscow) Heavy rains have caused flooding in several villages in the Russian region of Yakutia, in eastern Siberia, particularly exposed to the effects of climate change, local authorities said on Tuesday.
“On July 11, after 4 p.m., a dam broke due to torrential rains, despite the reinforcement of the defences. The village of Betenkes, on the banks of the Adycha River, was almost completely flooded,” the operational center of the Republic of Yakutia said.
He said 166 plots of land, including 36 houses and where 84 people live, were flooded in the village, located in northeastern Yakutia. No casualties have been reported so far.
After the heavy rains, other, smaller floods hit more than five villages in Yakutia, including Tomtor on the Doulgalakh River, local authorities said.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations said that a helicopter had been sent from the regional capital Yakutsk to supply residents and that evacuation operations were being carried out by rubber dinghies.
Yakutia, an immense territory five times the size of France, is on the front line of climate change: it is regularly hit by forest fires and undergoes the melting with unpredictable consequences of permafrost.
“The climate and temperatures are changing, which has an effect on precipitation,” said Zinaida Vassileva, an expert from the local Ecology Ministry, interviewed by the Yakut media IASIA.
According to her, the heavy rains fell on mountainous tributaries of the Iana River, then these large quantities of water “gushed up from the mountains” towards the Yakut plains. It recommends increasing the number of hydrological stations to anticipate such disasters.