In pictures: the Russian city of Samara being 'eaten alive' by sinkholes (16pics)
Residents of Samara, in south Russia, have seen cars and buses vanish beneath their streets as an epidemic of sinkholes spreads through the city. Words by Paul Wright
In scenes reminiscent of a disaster film, residential streets and major thoroughfares have emerged from the city’s harsh winter unable to withstand the pressure from daily traffic.
Giant holes in the ground have opened up swallowing cars, trucks and public transportation.
The cause of the holes is thought to be a combination of poor road construction and the severe weather experienced over the past winter.
It has been reported that at least one person has lost their life as a result of the erosion.
Combined with poor drainage, soil beneath the roads has been allowed to be washed away.
As temperatures dove to more than -20 Celsius, the ice and resulting melt water causes erosion both below and at ground level.
This is not the first time the city has suffered from crumbling tarmac. Every year the city suffers from severe potholes and three years ago the problem took another life after a driver’s car disappeared under a pavement as the road surface gave way.
Frightened more deaths will follow, some of the 1.1m residents of Samara have reportedly signed a petition to force the local authorities to take action.