Over 1,200 people have been evacuated by helicopter from Kabardino-Balkaria’s Elbrus District, following a landslide near the village of Elbrus on 1 September.
The landslide destroyed the only road to the area, cutting off almost 8,000 people from five villages in the Baksan Valley, and leaving many without gas, food, and drinking water.
The landslide pushed three cars carrying five people into the river. Two were saved, while one body has been found. Around 500 people are still searching for the two remaining passengers, one of whom is the head of Elbrus’s local administration, Mussa Dzhappuyev.
On 5 September, Kabardino-Balkaria’s Ministry of Emergencies reported that traffic has been partially restored to all villages affected by the disaster.
‘Opening the road removes the need for us to continue evacuating local residents and tourists by air, and allows us to resume full-fledged delivery of food products, medicines, and other vital goods’, the president of Kabardino-Balkaria, Yury Kokov stated.
The area is a popular destination for Russian and international tourists and a convenient starting point for ascending Europe’s highest mountain, Elbrus. According to the Ministry of Emergencies, 38 tourist groups numbering 210 people are still on the trail up Elbrus, including 12 foreign groups.
Several inhabitants of the town of Tyrnyauz, 30 kilometres south of Elbrus, offered free accommodation to people affected by the disaster.
‘We’ll receive everyone who’s in Elbrus and [the nearby village of] Neytrino or any other dangerous zone. If you have nowhere to stay, whether you have children or elderly people with you, we’ll find accommodation for everyone in Tyrnyauz’, local activists wrote on VKontakte, Caucasian Knot reported.
Tyrnyauz was affected by a large landslide into River Baksan on 14 August. Almost 1,000 people were evacuated due to the threat of flooding. The local authorities managed to lower the river’s level by 16 August.