Russia – 500 Homes and 8 Bridges Damaged in Ussuriysk Floods

The Russian disaster management agency (EMERCOM) said yesterday that food and water have been supplied to all villages affected by the floods that struck in areas around the city of Ussuriysk, Primorsky Krai, during late August 2015.

Tropical Cyclone Goni, which had already caused severe floods in North Korea, reach Russia’s south-easternmost province of Primorsky Krai as a Low Pressure system between 25 and 27 August.

Heavy rainfall brought by the system caused several rivers to break their banks, flooding 8 villages and damaging around 500 homes. EMERCOM also reported yesterday that the level of the Razdolnaya river continues to fall and now stand at 786 cm, below the danger mark of 815 cm.

A team of EMERCOM staff of around 700 people have been working on clearing up the after the floods, cleaning areas from waste and dirt, restoring facilities of infrastructure, making dykes, strengthening river banks, clearing river beds and storm sewage. Eight bridges in 6 of the affected villages have suffered damage.

Ussuriysk floods - Photo: EMERCOM
Ussuriysk floods – Photo: EMERCOM

Ussuriysk Zoo Evacuation

Earlier this week EMERCOM confirmed that all the animals have been evacuated from the flooded zoo in Ussuriysk. They said:

“The last to leave their cages were three Himalayan bears, which were taken to land in boats by rescuers together with vets, ecologists and the zoo staff. Then they put them in cages and transported to the temporary shelter. The rescue operation took three days. A Mi-26 helicopter of Khabarovsk Air Rescue Center of the Russian Emergencies Ministry was specially deployed in Ussuriysk.”

Ussuriysk zoo evacuation. Photo: EMERCOM
Ussuriysk zoo evacuation. Photo: EMERCOM

Floods and Zoos

Ussuriysk is not the only zoo faced with the need to evacuate during a flood.

During the 2013 central and eastern Europe floods, a timely and successful evacuation of the zoo in Prague was carried out. However, the story was very different in 2002 when the Prague Zoo came under intense criticism. Back then the zoo was unprepared for such a catastrophe and many animals suffered and died as a result, including a birds, reptiles, a sea lion, a lowland gorilla, a hippo and an elephant. The death of the elephant was particularly disturbing. The 33 year old Indian Elephant was trapped in the zoo elephant enclosure whilst the flood waters were rising. Despite efforts, the zoo’s animal keepers were unable to rescue him and decided to kill him humanely rather than let him drown.

Disaster preparedness plans in Tbilisi, Georgia, came under scrutiny when many animals died in the city’s zoo when floods struck in June this year.

Following the Tbilisi flood disaster, the UN office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) said, “the flood waters burst into the city’s zoo, with a significant number of its animals either drowned or shot after escaping.” UNISDR went on to say:

“The Tbilisi disaster serves to underline the vulnerability of animals in the face of natural hazards”