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Trans-Siberian Railroad Blocked After Bridge Collapse


Flooding in the Chernyshevsky district

Floods caused by heavy rains in Siberia have led to the collapse of a bridge, severing the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the world's longest rail line that spans Russia, from Moscow to the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

The collapse on July 23 halted train operations for several hours along the 9,289-kilometer (5,772-mile) line, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to urge repair crews to work quickly to fix the issue.

Residents of the Chernyshevsky district in the Zabaikalye region said the bridge collapse occurred near the village of Nizhnyaya Kuenga after the Aleur River burst its banks, flooding the town of Chernyshevsk and several villages nearby.

Residents of several villages told RFE/RL they were being forced to leave their homes after water levels reached their knees.

"Areas near the river are all under water.... Rescue teams from the Emergency Situations Ministry have yet to be seen. But even if they were here, they would not be able to take care of the situation as too many people are affected. It is very difficult to leave the area as there is only one bridge for cars and the authorities are allowing only one car at a time to cross. It looks like they are afraid that it may also collapse like the railroad bridge," one of the residents of the district, Svetlana Shemyakina, told RFE/RL.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said no casualties had been reported after the railroad bridge collapsed, adding that the trains had been rerouted.

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