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Trapped animals await rescue from cages flooded in Far East zoo disaster

August 31, 2015, 13:47 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK

The river Rakovka burst its banks in the wake of super-typhoon Goni's arrival on August 26

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, August 31. /TASS/. Exhausted zoo animals trapped in their cages are awaiting vets and rescuers to free them at flood-stricken Green Island animal park in Russia's far eastern Ussuriysk.

They are penned and stranded in metre-and-a-half-deep water as the city wallows in a state of emergency since the river Rakovka burst its banks in the wake of super-typhoon Goni's arrival on August 26. Hundreds of inhabitants have been evacuated.

At the inundated zoo,18 bears, two lions, wolves, boars and roebuck struggle, left behind by smaller creatures who have already been freed. Stout-hearted volunteers are bringing food to those lingering still in distress.

"Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is feed the animals," a local official said. "All the cage exits are under water. It's impossible to raise the cages above the flood. We await rescuers this evening. They will probably use heavy equipment."

Regional press service officials say rescuers, vets and local authorities are now examining the disaster area. "As for now, we cannot say which animals did not survive the flood," a spokesman said. More than 630 rescue workers and above 100 pieces of equipment have been drafted in for the relief effort.

Emergency services have been tasked to bring water and food to those cut off by the deluge. Evacuation of the animals is under orders from Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, the regional press service told TASS.

"Yury Trutnev has ordered the Environment Ministry to follow the suffering animals' plight and asked police to track down and bring to justice the zoo owners as well as immediately evacuating the animals," the service said.

Green Island is located some 100 kilometers from the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, where its own zoo is offering a new home for the animals still trapped by the waters.

Sergey Asnovin, Vladivostok zoo head, told TASS on Monday: "The animals have not slept or eaten for several days. They are exhausted," he said, watching the events. "We are ready to place the animals in our zoo."

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