Workers Fortify Levee in Komsomolsk-on-Amur

Volunteers manning the flood defenses on the Amur river.

Rescue workers in the Far East have successfully fortified the Mylkinsky levee to protect the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the face of a violent storm that threatened to destroy the city's flood defenses.

The storm Sunday night, with a wind speed of 22 meters per second, threatened to obliterate the 5-kilometer-long levee that borders the Amur River and protects the city against flood waters, Interfax reported Monday.

But thanks to a group of rescue workers totaling more than 1,000 people, who worked for 15 hours straight, disaster was averted, Oleg Voronov, head of communications for the Emergency Situations Ministry, said Monday.

"Thanks to the timely decision to strengthen the levee, the courageous, heroic action of the volunteers and soldiers saved the structure," Voronov said.

The situation was much more severe than when a storm battered flood defenses last week, he said.

"Due to the storm's strength, it wasn't possible to use pontoons to help fortify the dam, so rescue workers had to drag sandbags manually," Voronov said.

The wind has since died down, but rescue workers are still on high alert.

Almost 900 homes have been flooded so far this summer, with 12,500 people affected, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said Monday.

About 1,000 residents have been moved to the city's evacuation centers and temporary public housing.

Fortification work on the city's levees continues, with about 13 kilometers of protective structures already built.

Hydrologists expect the water levels in the part of the Amur river that flows through the city to start falling in the near future.

The water levels in Khabarovsk started to go down about a week ago, and Komosomolsk-on-Amur usually experiences a seven-day lag compared to Khabarovsk, hydrologist Mikhail Prokopenko said.

The Amur's water levels sit at 909 centimeters, according to measurements taken at 9 a.m. Moscow time.

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