Russia has been hit by devastating floods killing five and marooning almost 10,000 in Siberia.
Mass evacuations have seen people forcibly removed from their homes in Irkutsk region where the world’s deepest lake – Baikal, containing 20 per cent of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater – burst its banks.
Some 50 villages on its shore were reported ‘inaccessible’, while at least 15 bridges were swept away and dams collapsed.
Heavy rains and ‘melting glaciers in the Sayan Mountains’ caused a ‘flood apocalypse’ with Russian forecasters saying there is ‘worse to come’.
In the town of Tulun, a grandfather, 86, and grandson, eight, are missing after they were swept away in swirling waters as a family tried to evacuate their home in a boat which capsized.
President Vladimir Putin flew to flooded industrial city Bratsk on his return from the G20 summit in Japan to warn against black marketeers cashing in by hiking prices of drinking water and basic foods.
He demanded that the worst-hit parents and children are relocated to ‘safe’ areas of Russia.
But capital city Moscow was hit, too, with a video showing a pilot with rolled up trousers wading through floodwater to reach his flight at Russia’s leading airport, Sheremetyevo.
Elsewhere, the diamond-rich Yakutia region was hit by raging wildfires destroying swathes of virgin forest as the Russian emergency services were faced with a ‘prefect storm’ of weather crises.
In one town in Irkutsk region, Tulun, water swelled to the third floor of five story apartment blocks.
The local River Iya had risen to a depth of 42 ft, when 22 ft is the ‘critical’ level.
Here, a grandfather and grandson were missing after their boat capsized as they sought to escape dramatically rising waters.
The flooding in Irkutsk region is ‘the worst in recorded history’ with ‘horrendous’ damage, reported The Siberian Times.
Almost 10,000 people lost their properties and are currently unsheltered as a major operations flies in relief supplies.
The figure includes 2,269 children.
Around 400 were injuries including more than three dozen children.
Some 27,000 people have no electricity due to power line collapses and preventive measures.
Officials say more than 4,000 blocks of flats and private homes were so badly flooded that they will have to be rebuilt.
The region’s main waterway – the Angara River flowing out of Baikal – had also burst its banks with some accounts saying unusually warm weather had led to glaciers melting in the Sayan Mountains.
Putin hit out at black marketeers seeking to make a quick profit on the plight of flood victims.
Many people ‘have got nothing left’, said the Kremlin leader.
‘Every day they need to feed their children and eat themselves, therefore please organise it without red tape.
‘We must not allow unfair traders to benefit on people’s grief.’
Russian has earmarked an initial £12.5 million to help flood victims.
Putin held a meeting in Bratsk with Minister of Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev, who is on the spot to handle the crisis, along with senior regional officials.
He ordered that stricken children and their parents should be immediately evacuated to safer parts of Russia.
‘We will do everything in our power to minimise the amount of grief,’ said deputy emergencies minister Alexander Chupriyan.
An IL-76 transport plane arrived in Irkutsk with 30 tons of humanitarian aid including 26 anti-flood dams, over 3,000 blankets, dozens of tents, first aid and ant-epidemic medications.