MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. Climate changes became one of the reasons of floods in the Irkutsk Region and fires in Siberia, head of the Russian Meteorological Service Maxim Yakovenko told journalists on Friday.
"Some misfortunes and emergency situations occur all the time - first floods, then fires. <...> As a matter fact, the reason is obvious: these are the ongoing climatic changes. They stayed below the radar before, but during the last six or seven years we have annually registered that the number of dangerous phenomena grew two and a half to three times compared with the previous decades," he said.
He noted that in the 1980-1990s there were annually about 100-150 dangerous natural phenomena which affected economy, and now there are 450-500 such dangerous phenomena, and their number will grow in the near future.
Floods in the Irkutsk Region started in June when rivers broke their banks due to heavy floods. About 10,900 houses in which 42,700 people lived were inundated in 109 communities in the first flood wave. Then 1,900 houses with a population of 5,300 people were flooded in 56 communities. Twenty-five people were killed, and six are missing.
On the territory of the Amur Region, where a state of emergency was launched on July 25 due to the flood caused by heavy rains, 462 houses and 962 residential yards remain inundated, and a total of 2,572 people, including 902 children, were evacuated. Almost 200 people were evacuated in the region during the past day. The situation is most difficult now in the town of Belogorsk and the Blagoveshchensky district. Working groups were formed to notify residents and are already operating.
According to the Aerial Forest Fire Center, 160 fires are burning on an area of 6,866 hectares on August 2 in Russia, 62 of them are in the Irkutsk Region and 69 fires are in the Krasnoyarsk Region.