Siberia devasted by floods


IQALUIT — Yakutsk, the capital of Russia’s diamond-mining republic Sakha-Yakutiya, faced flooding this week as pent-up floodwaters rushed toward the city.

The town of Lensk, 840 kilometres upstream from Yakutsk, was completely submerged by meltwater released after bombers blasted apart a huge ice floe blocking the river near the town.

Russian news agencies also reported that 3,500 people were evacuated from the town of Olyekminsk, which lies between Lensk and Yakutsk, as waters rose there.

Officials in Yakutsk were working on ways to divert the water away from the town, which has a population of around 200,000.

The floods, the worst in a century in eastern Siberia, were triggered by a spring thaw following a hard winter.

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