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Spring floods force thousands of Russians from homes

MOSCOW, April 30 — Rivers in Russia's Siberian region of Tomsk, central Kirov region and northern Arkhangelsk territory have swollen beyond their banks due to melting snow, forcing the evacuations of thousands of people.

A state of emergency has been declared in Arkhangelsk, where several of the city's residential buildings have been flooded, affecting about 3,500 people.

Emergency reception centers have been opened in the city and people are being provided with accommodation and meals.

In the city of Tomsk, the authorities have begun to evacuate residents as water levels in the Ushayka River have risen more than a meter and continue to rise.

Kirov's Vyatka River has burst its banks and become polluted in a water inlet area, leaving the city without safe drinking water.

The pollution has reached 104 percent from the maximum allowable and although Kirov's authorities have not shut off water supplies, they say the water should only be used for sanitary purposes.

City residents are being supplied with drinking water for free.

Every year, some 3,000 Russian cities and towns with a combined population of about 2 million people are threatened by spring flooding as snows melt, with massive blocks of ice forming dams where river banks narrow a particular problem. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

LOR/ebp

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