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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Planes Bomb Floe to Ease Flooding

Warplanes bombed an 80-kilometer-wide river ice floe on Thursday in an attempt to unblock a build-up of meltwater that has forced thousands of people from flooded homes in eastern Siberia, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

But spokeswoman Marina Ryklina said the water level remained critically high around the town of Lensk. Helicopters were still evacuating residents and delivering vital supplies to remote settlements along the Lena River.

"Fighter planes have dropped another six bombs on the ice blockage, but the water level has not fallen," Ryklina said. "In Lensk the water is about 5 meters above the critical level."

"They've got generators to keep the hospitals running and there have not been any casualties. But the situation is bad, it is worrying," she said.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu told ORT television that 12,000 people had been evacuated and that helicopters were delivering tons of food to those trying to sit out the flood, which follows one of Siberia's worst winters on record.