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Scientists warn part of Kyiv could be flooded

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Aug. 16, 2012, 5:53 p.m. | Kyiv — by Interfax-Ukraine


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Part of Obolon, Rusanivka, Pozniaky and Osokorky districts in Kyiv will be flooded in case of a repeat of the flooding of 1931, and the likelihood of such flooding is increasing due to global climate change, the head of the department of mathematical modeling of the environment at the Institute of Mathematical Machines and Systems Problems at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Mark Zhelezniak, has said.

"The likelihood of a repeat of the flooding of 1931 is estimated as once every 200 years and that of 1970 once every hundred years. But these estimates were made before the climate began to change. Now, the flood statistics does not work, as it was obtained in the 20th century, but we live in the 21st century. We need to anticipate new climate conditions for the next hundred years and determine what flash floods could be expected. Flash floods can happen once every hundred years, but some districts in Kyiv are hit by floods once every 20 years. We need to clearly say what places could be closed to prevent flooding. Latest calculations of this kind were made in 1980, when there was a different topography, and there was no Obolon," he said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Zhelezniak said that during extreme floods the dams constructed on very narrow concrete places would prevent flooding in certain parts of the city. He noted that Rusanivka gardens would be flooded even in case of a repeat of a small flood of 1970, because the dam there is unfinished and there are a lot of such places in the city.

Ukraine's chief meteorologist, Mykola Kulbida, in turn, noted that the institute had helped develop a special model that takes into account the topography, depth, movement of water along the river and reservoirs and that this makes it possible to most accurately identify the most hazardous areas that could be under the threat of flooding.

"The prediction of spring floods and maximum water levels, as well as areas that could be flooded, could be made in March next year, when all factors triggering spring floods near Kyiv or on any river will be known. But we should be prepared that once flash floods will hit Kyiv, and we should know their possible consequences," he said.

"Earlier, we took into account a number of historical observations. For example, Zakarpattia region was hit by flooding in 1998, and its frequency could be once every 50 or even 70 years. But it somehow happened again in 2001. There were no floods in the Carpathian region and in the basin of the Dniester River, but in 2008 floods occurred. And they repeated in 2010. These examples suggest that the likelihood of extreme floods with catastrophic consequences is growing. And we currently cannot predict what floods can hit our country in the next hundred years," Kulbida added.

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