A dam in the Siberian region of Buryatia, Russia, has collapsed, leading to severe flooding and causing significant damage to a crucial transit railway, according to a local Russian official. The overflowing of the Kholodnaya River has resulted in the disruption of an important transit rail link in the Severo-Baikal district of the eastern Siberian region.
Governor Alexey Tsydenov conveyed this information through a statement on Telegram, emphasizing the potential economic impact of the disaster. The Russian economy, already under pressure due to Western sanctions imposed over the Ukrainian conflict, faces the loss of billions of rubles. The damages include not only the idle cargo but also the expenses related to the restoration of the affected railroad.
The flooded area includes the Baikal-Amur Main Line (BAM), an extensive transit railway spanning approximately 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) and recognized as one of the world’s longest railway networks. The BAM runs north of Lake Baikal, passing through Severobaikalsk and terminating at the port city of Sovetskaya Gavan, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
A map showing the Severobaikalsk district of Russia’s far east Buryatia region. The Russian economy will lose “billions of rubles” after a destroyed dam in Buryatia caused a river to burst its banks and damage a key transit railway, according to a local Russian official.GOOGLE MAPS
Videos posted on social media platforms by independent Belarusian outlet NEXTA depict the fast-flowing water inundating a damaged section of the bridge and covering the railway tracks. However, the location and timing of the footage have not been independently verified, and it remains unclear which specific dam caused the flooding and when it occurred. Newsweek has reached out to the Russian government for further comments on the matter.
Governor Tsydenov subsequently declared a state of emergency across Buryatia in response to the aftermath of the dam’s destruction. However, there is no immediate threat to local residents, as the water level is receding, and authorities are working to restore the travel routes.
Russian Railways, the state-owned railway company, is actively engaged in efforts to restore the damaged section of the BAM railway track on the Kholodnaya River, as stated by Governor Tsydenov in a separate post.
Earlier this month, heavy rains in Russia’s Primorsky region led to river flooding, affecting various areas in the country’s far east, including the cities of Ussuriysk and Spassk-Dalny. The floods in Ussuriysk were reported as the most extensive and destructive in the past decade, according to Russian state news agency Tass.