134 Reported to Be Killed in Floods in South Russia

About a hundred people died in floods in southern Russia after torrential rains, storms and landslides, reported Russian officials.

134 people were killed in Russia’s Krasnodar region near the Black Sea after two months’ average rainfall fell in a few hours overnight, reports local police. Photo: theseoduke/Flickr

Officials said that some victims were reportedly electrocuted while others were swept into the sea. In the majority of cases people had been sleeping and drowned.

However, there were those who survived by climbing on to rooftops after the rain damaged thousands of homes, flooded railways and roads, and stopped all the shipments in the port of Novorossiisk.

According to locals, most of the victims died in or around Krymsk, a town about 300 km (190 miles) northwest of Sochi, where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, reports Reuters.

“There are lots of overturned cars, even huge trucks. Brick fences are washed away,” local resident Vladimir Anosov said during an interview via telephone from the village of Novoukrainsky near Krymsk.

“People are on the street, they are at a loss what to do. Helicopters are flying overhead, they are evacuating people from the flooded areas. The floods are really, really huge. Police advise people to choose different routes,” he said.

Police said that in the Krymsk area died 88 while two had been killed in Novorossiisk and nine in the coastal resort town of Gelendzhik. “Police are beefing up their presence to prevent mass looting,” police spokesman Igor Zhelyabin said.

“The floods hit at night when people were asleep. You can’t do anything about that. Many people in Gelendzhik were hit by electric shocks and some of them were washed away into the sea,” he added.

The State Hydrometeorology Agency warned that more rain was possible on Saturday and Sunday and Alexander Tkachov, the governor of the Krasnodar region, tried to calm people down and urged them not to panic.

“No one can remember such floods in our history. There was nothing of the kind for the last 70 years. More than 5,000 households were hit,” Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said that due to heavy rainfall regional transport collapsed and all trains heading to and from Novorossiisk were suspended. “The water has risen half a meter above the rails,” Russian Railways said on its website.

Novorossiisk, Russia’s largest Black Sea port, had to hold crude oil shipments, a spokesman for oil pipeline operator Transneft told reporters.

“The region is in transportation collapse,” Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said. He added that the company’s infrastructure was largely unaffected, he said.

“Of course, we limited shipments, the port is located in the lower part of town, the whole landslide has moved towards it. As we speak, the rain has started again,” a spokesman for the port said. “I will have more detailed information after the meeting.”

Last month Transneft predicted that crude exports from Novorossiisk would fall to 3.38 million metric tons in July from 3.61 million metric tons in June.

The Telegraph says, more than 1,500 Emergency Ministry officials are providing aid flood victims and clean up the damage.

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