Saturday, 7 July 2012

103 die in southern Russia flood



Intense flooding in the Black Sea Krasnodaregion of southern  Russia killed about 103 people after torrential rains dropped nearly a foot of water, forcing many to scramble out of their beds for refuge in trees and on roofs, officials said Saturday.



Many people were asleep when the flooding hit overnight in the Krasnodar region, and the water rushed into the area around the hard-hit town of Krimsk with such speed and volume that rumors emerged that local officials had opened a nearby water reservoir. Muddy water coursed through streets and homes, in some cases high enough to flow over the hoods of cars and even as high as rooftops, according to witnesses.

People waded through waist-high water or maneuvered the streets in boats on Saturday. About 5,000 residences were flooded, the Krasnodar governor was quoted as telling the Interfax news agency.
"Nobody remembers such a flood in all (of the area's) history," Alexander Tkachev said.

The Interior Ministry gave the death toll as 103 on Saturday evening, according to Russian news agencies; a regional ministry spokesman said earlier that at least 67 of the deaths were around Krimsk, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) south of Moscow. Five people were electrocuted in the Black Sea coastal city of Gelendzhik after a transformer fell into the water, state news agency RIA Novosti said.

Anna Kovalevskaya, whose parents live in the flooded area, described water inundating their home up to the roof.
"In the town, people are saying that a reservoir in the mountains above was opened," she told the Moscow-based radio station Russian News Service. "A wave came from there. There was seven meters (22 feet) of water in the town."

State news channel Rossiya 24 showed video of area residents rescuing people in small, inflatable boats and others slogging glumly through flooded homes.
"It came so fast!" exclaimed one woman, whose name was not given, waving an arm in frustration at the shin-deep water in her living room, where a large teddy bear sat on a sofa.
More than 28 centimeters (11 inches) of rain had fallen in Gelendzhik since the previous evening, the state meteorological service said.

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