Mongolian capital hit by flash flooding

Floods inundated parts of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator after torrential rain damaged a dam at the Selbe River on Wednesday. In traditionally dry Ulaanbaatar this week, heavy rains have inundated rivers, flooding basement apartments and trapping cars.

At least 27 residential buildings and hundreds of vehicles were flooded in Bayanzurkh district, the country’s National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement. Residents of Bayanzurkh District living near the river Selbe had been worked since the early hours to boost the height of a local dam and stem rising waters caused by heavy rain.

The government declared a “high alert” in Ulaanbaatar on Wednesday, with Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene ordering “necessary measures” be taken in response.

The water levels in the central and eastern parts of the country have exceeded warning levels due to the prolonged round of rainfall that began Sunday night, with more expected through the end of the week.

Mongolia is traditionally cold and dry, and annual precipitation ranges from 50 to 400 millimetres — leaving the capital’s infrastructure, including the sewage system, ill-equipped to deal with sustained heavy rain.

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